Barr and Wilson introduce 15 creatures that are included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “Red List,” which designates danger categories from “extinct” to “least concern” for animals, plants, and fungi.
Animals described here are listed in the “vulnerable” to “critically endangered” categories. Using a “choose your own adventure” approach, an opening double-page spread directs readers to “pick a place” (biome), and then the next spread asks them to “choose a creature,” each bearing a page number, from that environment. On the indicated page, readers find an attractive full-bleed painting of the animal (generally out of scale) in its natural setting along with a small human. Each spread includes similar information in a clear layout: the creature’s common name, zoological classification, and Latin name; a short narrative text usually connecting the animal and the human depicted; bulleted facts; and a box entitled “DANGER!” that gives the IUCN category and reasons for the designation. Each section also refers readers to a later spread that lists one website per animal for further information along with suggestions for general conservation efforts—and that instructs readers to return to the beginning and explore another animal. Interested kids will read the whole engaging book. Deeply colored mixed-media illustrations occasionally obscure the text. A world map on the front endpapers showing the habitats of the animals is partially hidden by the jacket flap. The last page lists 60 other animals on the Red List, for further exploration.
Fascinating for both research and browsing. (Nonfiction. 7-11)