What’s the Difference? by Suzanne Slade

Title: What’s the Difference?
Author: Suzanne Slade

Illustrator: Joan Waites
Paperback or hardback: 32 pgs, Hardback and Paperback
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing

Publication date: March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-607180-708 (H) $16.95/978-1-607180-814 (P) $8.95 

Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

This endangered animal subtraction story points to the ways man has helped endangered animals to change their fate.  Each charming rhyme by author Suzanne Slade offers a simple subtraction problem for children to solve. 

“Twelve furry otter pups in a grassy bed, two hunt for clams below.  How many rest instead?” 

While children learn about animal habitats and eating habits this book points out how the Endangered Species Act has protected many animals.  Joan Waites’ beautiful watercolor illustrations bring the different environments to life. 

“Gray bats hibernate inside warm caves during winter. There are only about nine caves in the U.S. where endangered gray bats can hibernate, and the openings of some have been blocked.” 

The plight of eagles, prairie dogs, butterflies, whooping cranes, gopher frogs, crocodiles, salmon, bowhead whales, gray bats, manatees, otters, and red wolves are discussed in detail.  As a teacher I can recommend What’s the Difference? as a great resource in the classroom or home library. 

As with all of Sylvan Dell’s books there are several fact and activity pages in the back of the book.  Sylvan also provides many on-line resources for teachers and students to use.

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Panda’s Earthquake Escape by Phyllis J. Perry

Title: Panda’s Earthquake Escape
Author: Phyllis J. Perry

Illustrator: Susan Detwiler

Ages: 4-8
Paperback or hardback: 32 pgs, Hardback and Paperback
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing

Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1-60718-071-5 (H)  $16.95/978-1-60718-082-1 (P)  $ 8.95

Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

This delightful story is based on the real life story of a Giant panda who did escape from the destroyed Wolong Panda Reserve when the 7.9 earthquake rocked Northern China on May 12, 2008.  Author Phyllis Perry uses the adventures of a mother panda, LiLing, and her one-year-old cub, Tengfei, to teach children about the endangered panda, and how they adapt to dangerous situations. In Panda’s Earthquake Escape, mother and cub escape from the wreckage. Confused and afraid, they get lost! How will they survive outside their reserve? Where will they find food and shelter?

“Tengfei watched.  He had never seen anything like this before.  These were not bamboo shoots, but he was really hungry.  Finally he tried one of the bulbs.  It wasn’t so bad.  He ate several more.  While they were eating, the earth beneath their feet began moving again.” 

With the help of Susan Detwiler’s vivid illustrations, children will fall in love with this mother and her cub as they experience this event through the eyes of these gentle animals.

 In “the creative minds” section at the end of the book you will find fun Panda facts and a life cycle sequencing activity.  Teachers will love the two pages of earthquake facts as well.

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Little Red Bat by Carole Gerber

Title: Little Red Bat
Author: Carole Gerber

Illustrator: Christina Wald
Paperback or hardback:
32 pgs Hardback and Paperback
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing

Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN-13: 9781-607-180692 (H)  $16.95/ 9781-607-180807 (P)  $ 8.95

Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

When we mention bats what image comes to your mind?  Count Dracula?  Bats often get a bad rap.  The little red bat in Carole Gerber’s story is a sweet young bat that doesn’t know whether to stay in the forest for winter or migrate to a warmer climate.  She talks to many different animals that tell her how they survive the winter.  Each one warns the little red bat about his natural enemy. 

“Where will you live this winter?” asks the little red bat.  “I’m wondering if I should stay or if I should go.”  With a swish of his tail, the squirrel buries his last nut.  “I’m staying.  My winter food is all stored,” he says.  If you stay, watch out for owls.” 

Christina Wald offers outstanding illustrations, which add to the enjoyment and educational opportunities of this book.  She even features close ups of certain animal body parts like the wing, foot, and head of a quail.  Kids will see new details with every reading. 

A feature of “the creative mind” section at the end of the book is a detailed, labeled illustration of a tree bat that is full of interesting facts.  There’s an adaptation matching game, and a life cycle sequencing activity too.  As a teacher I can say that Little Red Bat is a must for every classroom.

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