The fourth in the Life Cycles series (following River, Ocean and Forest), this focuses on 11 Arctic and Antarctic animals, exploring their life cycles and the ways in which they are interconnected by a food chain.
The first food chain Callery presents is hermit crab, Arctic tern, Arctic fox, polar bear. Each spread is devoted to a single animal. Readers’ eyes are led from left to right, reading a short paragraph about the animal, seeing its lifecycle in a four-part circular chart and reading a list of other fascinating facts. A final fact states the animal’s life expectancy and leads right into the next page, which features its predator. Beautiful close-up photographs show the animals in their natural habitats eating, playing and interacting with one another. Publishing concurrently is Grasslands, which explores three food chains in Africa and South and North America. Both texts begin with rudimentary and oversimplified introductions. Food chains start with producers that make their own food, then move on to primary and secondary consumers (“eats small, slow prey”). Finally, “At the top of a food chain is a top predator.” However, these generalizations do not hold true, even within the books—the Grasslands title has one food chain ending with a scavenger.
A great beginning look at the lifecycles of some fascinating animals and a solid tool for learning about food chains…just skip the introductions. (contents, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 5-8)