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Fox Talk by LE Carmichael- A Review

Fox Talk

How Some Very Special Animals Helped Scientists Understand Communication

by LE Carmichael; illustrated by Jody Bronson
Ashby-BP Publishing
Pub Date: Aug 25 2013

This is such a cute book, but it doesn’t pull punches when it comes to science! I suppose that is what I liked most about it. I learned a lot, and I’m sure children will as well.

I know when my son was young, I was very frustrated by kid’s books that I felt dumbed down science. I wanted books that didn’t pull punches, but that were considerate of children’s vocabulary deficits. This book doesn’t pull punches, and it teaches strong vocabulary carefully, giving explanations along the way. I LOVE that!

The book is about foxes in general, and then leads more specifically to a discussion about an experiment in Russia to tame foxes. In just a few generations of selective breeding, wild foxes grew more and more tame, and finally were tame and playful. The book talks about what they are like naturally, and through the process. It discussed Fox communication as well. It was very interesting that the most playful foxes had the tamest offspring!

I think this is a good selection for smart children that are interested in biology and science. The book really supports evolution too, in my opinion. It shows how in just a few generations of selective breeding, the captive foxes began to have more and more domesticated offspring.

The book has a lot of scientific terms, but it explains them all well in a manner that kids will understand. It could potentially launch a ton of conversations on evolution, the scientific process, animal husbandry, genetics, Russia, and more.

I didn’t have any trouble reading the text at all, and I loved the pictures of the foxes playing. The book gave the foxes names, which children will relate to. I found it delightful and intelligent.

Disclosure: I was provided an unfinished electronic galley copy for purposes of review via the publisher. This post does contain an affiliate link, however, Amazon has helped me arrange my account so that my payout can never be reached. I like the affiliate tools for the convenience only, it is never my intention to profit from my reviews of any item.

5 out of 5 stars

Song for Papa Crow by Marit Menzin – a Children’s Book Review


Song for Papa Crow
by Marit Menzin


Winner of 2012 Mom’s Choice Award
Available Now

This is one of the best children’s books I have read this year, if not the best. The artwork is joyful and sunny.  The story is delightful, with vocabulary that hits the spot for younger children, and it’s quite educational about birds and crows in a subtle way that gets conversations started.

The story is about a baby crow who feels bad because he cannot sing as prettily as the other birds.  One night, his father takes him to see the Mockingbird sing, and he is delighted at the Mockingbird’s ability to mimic.  Soon, he finds out that he can sing like the other birds too!

The story builds with suspense as a scary crow steals the little crow as he is singing.  He calls to Papa Crow to come save him, but it’s only when he remembers his own voice that Papa Crow realizes his baby is in danger and comes to his rescue.

The story includes sounding out the sounds of several different types of birds, and is very respectful about the talent and intellect of the crow.  At first, I was scared the author might be forgetting what wonderful mimics that crows are, but she wove it into the story perfectly.  It also explored the relationship of hawks and crows.  (Crows often do chase off hawks.  We have chickens here at our house, and are glad that the crows hang around because they are so good at deterring predators.)

The book should be a lot of fun for adults and children alike.  Adult readers will be able to animate the birds fairly easily since the author includes an onomatopoeia for each bird’s sound, such as the CAW CAW sound of the crow.  The subject matter should open up the natural world a bit more for children as they become more aware of the differences in the bird species.

This is a great book, and would make a great gift for children, boys and girls, 3-7. Early homeschooling parents will find this book helpful in starting a discussion on species, adaptation, and predation.

 


5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was provided a time limited e-copy for purposes of review via the publisher. This post does contain an affiliate link(s), however, Amazon has helped me arrange my account so that my payout can never be reached. I like the affiliate tools for the convenience only, it is never my intention to profit from my reviews of any item.

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