Excellent nature photography, even in this small (6 inches square) board-book format, will intrigue young animal lovers.
Most of the photos are of species young children will recognize (lions, a cheetah, a bear, a leopard), but some are less-typical subjects: an egret, a crab, a red fox. Each is paired with another creature that demonstrates an opposite feature—but does not necessarily share a habitat. So “Bison lives where it is COLD” is juxtaposed with “Lizard lives where it is HOT.” The key word is printed in uppercase type and in a bold, contrasting color. Each animal gets just the one line, providing a fact but possibly leaving inquisitive preschoolers puzzled and their parents or teachers struggling to fill in more information. For example, the last two pages feature a cougar and a burrowing owl, both awake. The final page shows a koala, sound asleep. But nowhere do readers learn that all three are nocturnal, nor is it clear whether the photos were taken during the day or night. My First Book of Animal Hugs and Kisses, published simultaneously, has some of the same issues, plus the problem of attributing human emotions to animal behaviors. Still, the high-quality nature photography is a refreshing change from smiling cartoon critters.
Take this one to the zoo. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)