Even the very young can identify animal tracks when it’s made this much fun.
Rhyming couplets that give clues to an animal’s identity and accompany illustrations of life-size (but admittedly not always realistically spaced) tracks and a few habitat clues encourage children to guess who made the print. “Round footprints left by two-toed feet / pressed into the sand in the desert heat. / This animal lives without water for days, / traveling under scorching sun rays.” Snaking (literally) between the prints is a long, S-shaped line. The turn of the page reveals the tracks’ makers—“A camel and a snake!”—and a paragraph of information about these animals (dromedary camels and horned vipers) follows. Other featured animals include black bear, gray wolves, moose, kangaroos, hippos, cattle egrets, beavers and a jaguar. Posada’s illustrations give great clues, and the answer pages mostly show both close-ups of the animals and at least one full-body image against the animals’ habitat. Backmatter encourages readers to use all the clues a track gives to identify the animal: number of toes, whether claws are visible or not, size of the track, how deeply impressed the track is, how far apart they’re spaced, etc. Tracks of nonfeatured animals in the background of the page challenge readers. The only thing that’s missing is an instructional note about using paper cups and plaster of Paris to cast found tracks.
Naturalists will be enthralled. (websites, further reading, answer key) (Informational picture book. 4-9)