Monday, September 24, 2007

Review: Little Skink's Tail

by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klien. Preview it on the Sylvan Dell site here. This story is based on the real life ability of skinks (small blue tailed lizards) to lose their tail in order to escape danger. The sweet little skink in the story is happily sunning on a rock and eating ants when she is attacked by a crow. She loses her tail and makes her get away, leaving the crow to chase her wiggling tail.

Little skink then starts to daydream about what it would be like to have different sorts of tails. A white-tailed dear? A cottontail rabbit? A squirrel, a skunk or a porcupine? She imagines herself with each and then decides they are not quite right a skink like her. Imagine her delight when she notices she has regrown her very own tail!

Buddy adores this story. He has requested it every night for the past week, ever since our review copy came in the mail. He laughs out loud to see the skink with a skunk, porcupine or owl tail. He pours over the gorgeous, vibrant illustrations, taking in all the carefully drawn details of the variety of animal and plant life of the forest and field. His quick five-year-old eyes immediately noticed the hidden monarch caterpillar on several pages, crowing with delight to see it weave a cocoon and then emerge a beautiful butterfly on the last page.

In the back of the book there are a few activity pages which we both enjoy. Buddy is learning to match animals with their footprint as well as read a grid and a compass rose from studying the footprint map. He gets pleasure out of matching up the animal tails with the names of the animals and the brief description of how each animals tails serve them. On the Sylvan Dell website I found additional activities and links to extend our learning, which I am looking forward to sharing with him.

This is a charming picture book that introduces the lives and habitats of real animals. The large print text, detailed illustrations and extended learning activities will satisfy young children as well as inviting them to continue to explore and expand their understanding of their world.


Charlotte said...

Thanks--this sounds right up our alley.

It does, however, bring back one of the darkest periods of my own life as a student of nature. When I was 8 we moved to the Bahamas and I decided to start a collection of lizard tails. After one tail, I realized that this actually hurt the poor lizards...

Cheryl Vanatti said...

Just wanted to let you know that I linked to your great review on Reading Rumpus