Fourteen (mostly) common animals are investigated to showcase their unusual talents.
There are plenty of strange animals in the world, with equally strange characteristics. But Loy doesn’t focus on them. Instead, she takes a look at the kangaroo, the hippopotamus, the flamingo and others that at first appear fairly familiar, and she surprises readers by uncovering traits that they may not know. An adult giraffe, for example, is so powerful that it can decapitate a lion in one kick. A goliath birdeater tarantula can grow to the size of a dinner plate. Each fact is shown next to a supporting photo (though thankfully the decapitation is not fully depicted). Full double-page spreads are dedicated to each animal, with approximately five facts per creature. The overall design is uncluttered but sometimes feels a bit too manipulated. Sadly, the many digitally cut-out images strip the animals of their natural habitats. Highlighted words or phrases help readers discern key details, but the text is minimal; readers shouldn’t need the hints. Importantly, bathroom habits of some of the animals are included—children will never fail to appreciate that!
An entertaining beginning photo essay that appeals to children’s insatiable curiosity about the natural world. (introduction, fun facts, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)