Two inquisitive cubs of different species search their habitat for a new tail for one.
Colo, the cougar cub, is chasing a feather using her long tail for balance when she meets Ruff, a bobcat cub. He’s in awe of her graceful jumping skills, which Colo attributes to her tail. The two set off to find Ruff a better tail. They trap a lizard, but its tail breaks off. They spot a hawk but write it off when a tail feather falls and they fear the whole tail is about to detach. The skunk’s tail’s too smelly, and the gopher’s is just as short as Ruff’s—but the gopher’s speed and agility teach the two cats that a short tail can be useful too. The new friends bid each other goodbye and head back to their mothers to eat. Lang’s nature tale definitely exists to teach, but young animal lovers will enjoy its quick progression. Klein’s realistic, detailed colored-pencil illustrations are a bit washed out but a good accompaniment nonetheless; some hide pictographs on the rocks that predict the story to come. Nearly every double-page spread has one or two facts, marked by a paw print and set in a smaller font, that relate to the action of the story. Backmatter includes species comparisons, a quiz, a tail-matching activity, and information about tail adaptations as well as internet links and sources.
A fine addition to science and nature collections. (Picture book. 6-10)