Monday, February 04, 2008


by Sneed B. Collard III, illustrated by Phyllis V. Saroff. Charlesbridge publishing, 2008. (review copy) This is another wonderful nonfiction picture book by the award winning author of Wings, which I reviewed last week. Sneed does a fine job of showing all the ways teeth are important to a variety of earth's creatures. Teeth "slice, stab, crack, grind, mash and munch." Mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish sport amazingly adapted teeth to fit their needs for food and defense.

Whether they are hunting or harvesting, teeth are good for digging, grabbing, ripping, holding, biting, chewing, and swallowing. Creatures from bats to frogs, snakes, trout and rays use their teeth to full advantage.

Different types of teeth are examined in detailed illustrations. The way they grow, are replaced, or maintained is shown to fit the lifestyle and needs of each animal. Some of the facts I have learned in reading this book:
  • Walruses use their tusks to haul themselves up onto the ice and attract a mate.
  • Horse's and hippo's teeth grow through-out their lives as they wear down their teeth grinding grasses.
  • Hyenas use their teeth to crack and crush the bones of zebras and other large prey.
  • Vampire bats use their razor-sharp front teeth to bite through a cow's skin and then lap up the blood as it drips out of the wound.
  • A ray has teeth lining it's throat to crack open shell fish as it swallows them whole.
  • Cutthroat Trout have teeth on their tongue to hold on to prey.
  • The difference between antlers, horns and teeth are explained as well as the human traditions around the loss of baby teeth.
The illustrations are soft water-color paintings showing bright highlights and careful details. Animals are shown using their teeth in all their glory. From screaming snow leopard to grinning chimpanzee and diving narwhale, teeth are central. Sneeds' friendly conversational style makes the text interesting and easy to follow for readers of all interests. This is another book that will be a frequently consulted volume in your home or school library.

Anastasia Suen has begun a series called Nonfiction Books on Mondays . I am planning to focus on nonfiction on Mondays in order to take part in her round up. Be sure to check her blog Picture Book of the Day on Monday afternoons!

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

This sounds like a great book, but what really sticks in my mind is the author's name- Sneed B. Collard III. I myself have never met a Sneed.