Monday, June 1, 2020

Nonfiction Monday

ANIMAL SKINS by nature photographer Mary Holland introduces young readers to the variety of furs, feathers, and scales utilized by animals in this addition to her award-winning Animal Anatomy series.

Age appropriate text offers insights into the many ways that animals utilize their skin for survival: as protection from the cold and wet, as camouflage, or as a means of warning away predators. Although written with children in mind, adults will learn new facts as well. Porcupines have three types of hair: underfur for warmth, guard hair that acts like whiskers to alert the porcupine to its surroundings, and quills for protection. Frogs can absorb oxygen through their skin. Many male birds wear feathers that are more brilliantly colored than the females.  Why?

The book identifies an audience of ages 5-9. Younger readers will enjoy the strong visual impact of the images and benefit from reading with an adult or older sibling. Experienced readers will find the text engaging and will discover more information in the final section titled For Creative Minds where readers are challenged to review what they have learned:
  •  “Match The Skin To The Animal” pairs thumbnail photos of skin with the host animal.
  • “How Animals Use Their Skins” asks which animal uses its skin to breathe, crawl, keep warm, defend itself, camouflage itself, and warn others.
  • “Special Skins” discusses some the unusual skin of moles, honey bees, turkey vultures, and the gray treefrog.
  • “Skins and Animal Classes” explains how animals can be sorted into classes by their skin coverings.

The publisher, Arbordale, has aligned this book to NGSS, Core, and state standards. An extensive teaching activities guide is available on
Animal Skins is an excellent STEM resource. Recommended for home, school, and library.

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