WEASELS, OTTERS, SKUNKS: and Their Family by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent


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There have been several recent children's books on individual members of the mustelid family but Patent's admirably thorough survey covers them all with ease and authority. The author, a Ph.D. in zoology, rejects the fictionalized life cycle formula for a concise, straightforward report on the habits, diet and distribution of each member as well as the common characteristics of this varied family which includes the fierce and cunning wolverine, the delightfully fun loving otter, and the rare black-footed ferret who lives with and on the endangered prairie dog. Patent's topics range from the history of the fur trade to the process of delayed implantation which accounts for the eight-to-twelve month gestation period that allows many mustelids to mate in summer and give birth in the spring. An implicit defense of these maligned predators is built into the explanation of their place in nature, and Kalmenoff's soft black drawings are a pleasant backup.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1973
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Holiday House