Animal Families
By Lorrie Mack
DK Publishing
ISBN: 9780756639983
$12.99
Grades 2-4
In Stores August 18, 2008

*Recommended*

Will all high quality, entertaining nonfiction for the lower elementary grades please say “here” –

(A few faint “heres” can be heard above the sound of crickets)

Ah, well, heh, I guess there’s not exactly scores of books that fall inside those guidelines. With its sustantial facts, nice layout, and outstanding photos, “Animal Families” will be a nice addition to this group. A good pick for libraries and classroom collections.

Human and animal families have a lot in common. We have parents and homes, we eat and have fun. “Animal Families” covers all of these topics in terms young readers can follow. Each two-page spread tackles a different aspect of animal family life. All animals are tossed in together (with a distinct emphasis on mamals), so you’ll see koalas, cats, and gorillas all on the same page. Facts are strewn about, with well captioned photos adding visual appeal. Increasing the kid appeal are the intermittent thought ballons that express what various animals are thinking. To quote a baby koala holding on to its mother:

I cling to my mom’s back even when she climbs eucalyptus trees to pick leaves for supper.

One of my favorite features are the “filmstrips” that occasionally stretch across the bottom of the spread. Over the course of five small pictures, they give a time-lapse look at animal life. Lion cubs playing, birds being born, and hippos taking baths are all presented in detail.

“Animal Families” will should circulate nicely in schools and libraries that are wise enough to add it to their collections.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Picture Book of the Day.