Following Animal Noses (2018), Holland’s latest looks at the various coverings for animals’ skin.
Hair, feathers, and scales may look different one to the other, but they serve largely the same purposes: camouflage, protection from predators and the weather, warnings to keep away, and aids to attracting a mate. Spots on a moth’s wings that look like eyes fool predators. A skunk’s black-and-white pattern acts as a warning. Fawns’ white spots help camouflage them, and a bird’s feathers trap air, helping the animal stay warm. Holland also looks at insects; their exoskeletons cannot grow. Instead, they grow a new skin under the old one and then shed the one that’s too small. Snakes do the same. (Holland missteps a bit with her statement that “If you look closely at a shed snake skin you can see the scales.” Those are not the actual scales but are made of something similar—keratin, which is in our nails and hair.) As in the whole Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series, the close-ups of the creatures are the big draw. Highlights are the frog peeking out of the water and the close-up of a fluffed-up bluejay amid falling snow. Backmatter includes some matching activities and more information.
A solid addition to the series and a great compare/contrast exercise for classrooms. (Nonfiction. 3-9)