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AND SO THEY BUILD by Bert Kitchen


by Bert Kitchen & illustrated by Bert Kitchen

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 1-56402-217-X
Publisher: Candlewick

An artist known for his elegant sense of design and meticulous paintings (Animal Alphabet, 1984, ALA Notable) depicts 12 animal-built structures: Australia's mallee fowl make self- warming nests of composting vegetable matter covered with sand, controlling the temperature until their eggs hatch; Africa's Cubeterme termites build columns of soil, riddled with chambers for different functions and topped with an umbrella-like cap to ``divert torrential rain''; a pregnant harvest mouse weaves a nest of still-rooted grasses, so that the nest continues to rise to greater safety. Birds predominate here, but a frog, spider, and fish are also included. Kitchen's concise descriptions are almost as lucid as his beautifully composed pictures. He's content simply to present these fascinating animal behaviors, leaving readers to make their own generalizations; but he offers so much variety, and so many implicit commonalities, that the book is sure to engender rational insights—as well as wonder at nature's fecund ingenuity. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-10)