Tuesday, March 29, 2016

X Why Z Animals (by Mark Shulman & James Buckley Jr.)

Summary of X WhyZ Animals (by Mark Shulman & James Buckley Jr.)
X Why Z Animals is written for inquiring young minds.  This non-fiction book is broken into 8 sections, each a different class of animals—mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids, sea animals, birds, and dinosaurs.  The sections begin with a brief description of each class, including a description of characteristics unique to them.  Then, there are questions that kids commonly ask like:

Why do chameleons change color?
Why do snakes stick out their tongues?
Why do baby deer have spots?
Why do roosters crow in the morning?
Why do dolphins make clicking sounds?
Why do fish swim in schools?

The questions have a short explanation in child-friendly language.  There are also “X Why Z Facts” interspersed throughout, which are fun tidbits about animals.  Colorful photographs compliment each page of this “Time for Kids” book. 

The book is oversized with big print and vivid photographs.  The information is laid out well and the questions are engaging.  It is ideal for sitting with young children and reading out loud.

X Why Z Animals could be used in a classroom to accompany units on different classes of animals.  The only downside is that each animal class is not dealt with equally.  For instance, there are 20 pages devoted to mammals, but only 2 for amphibians. Granted it, children may be more interested in mammals because of their interaction with them at home, on farms, and in the woods.  However, I feel the coverage could be a bit more equal. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  I recommend it for kids ages 3-8.  They will enjoy the pictures and dialogue about some of their favorite animals. 

The X Why Z series includes books on space, the human body, and general questions.

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