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TOUGH BEGINNINGS by Marilyn Singer

TOUGH BEGINNINGS

How Baby Animals Survive

By Marilyn Singer (Author) , Anna Vojtech (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6164-9
Publisher: Henry Holt

All sorts of baby animals have tough beginnings, whether they are tiny sea turtles scrambling to reach the ocean before they are eaten, cicadas emerging from a 17-year sleep, or penguin chicks surviving in the minus-70-degree temperatures of Antarctica. Singer (Fred’s Bed, p. 593, etc.) gives interesting details about a dozen diverse animals from around the world, including opossums, whales, wood ducks, fruit bats, desert spadefoot toads, and kangaroos. The newly hatched Komodo dragon lizard may face the biggest challenge. Papa is a large lizard that eats anything that moves, including his own young. Says Singer in one of her opening captions: “It’s not easy when Dad wants to eat you . . .” Each animal is presented in a double-paged spread with a full-color painting capturing both the habitat and the animal described. Especially successful are the plates showing the desert spadefoot toad from egg to adult and the cicada nymph buried under the roots of a tree and also emerging as an adult. Last to be introduced is the human baby. Though Singer writes: “Compared with many other babies, we humans have it easy.” She gives brief facts about more animal babies, a note urging conservation, and, on the back cover, connects all the animals introduced with a poem which begins: “It’s tough to begin on the beaches, / It’s tough to begin in the seas. / It’s tough to hang on to your mother, / It’s hard to jump out of trees.” The picture-book format, handsome paintings, and fascinating choice of facts presented make this an engaging and useful science nature title for younger children. (Nonfiction. 5-8)