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DESERT BATHS by Darcy Pattison


by Darcy Pattison & illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-607185-253
Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Throughout a day and night, a dozen U.S. desert animals demonstrate that not all animals use water to bathe.

This intriguing combination of biology and earth science follows the model of Prairie Storms (2011), by the same pair. Here, while a short text describes an animal’s behavior, the illustrations also reveal the time of day. From the turkey vulture’s early-morning sun bath to the bobcat kitten’s tongue-wash late at night, each creature is shown in its natural habitat in Rietz’s realistic paintings, done with a mix of watercolor and digital effects. As in the previous title, these double-page spreads are framed with unlabeled but relevant border designs. Six pages of backmatter include “fun facts,” an adaptations matching game, a U.S. map, further information about animal cleaning methods and telling time by the sun’s position, and instructions for making a sundial, but no index. The creatures described are fascinating, but the text lacks an explanatory, unifying introduction or conclusion. It is only through careful reading of the backmatter that readers will discover the point of the text—the variety of ways animals get rid of dirt, germs, bugs and parasites—or the orientation of the illustrations (looking north) that demonstrates the time of day.

A useful classroom teaching tool; it is also available in Spanish.

(Informational picture book. 5-9)