What Is the Animal Kingdom?


32 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-86505-877-6
DDC j590




Illustrations by Barbara Bedell
Reviewed by Alison Mews

Alison Mews is co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services at
Memorial University of Newfoundland.


These two books in The Science of Living Things series introduce basic
science concepts to primary children. Each book features excellent
photographs and simplified language, and includes a table of contents,
glossary, and index. All the photos have captions that identify the
animal pictured and provide interesting trivia that relate to the
information presented. Unfortunately, there is no pronunciation guide
for the difficult terms encountered and only some of the boldface terms
are included in the glossary.

What Is the Animal Kingdom? outlines the five kingdoms of living things
and then gives an overview of the major categories. The common
characteristics of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and so forth
are described on double-page spreads. Well-chosen pictures illustrate
the points made; the photo of a cobra shooting a stream of venom, and
that of a baby seal covered in oil are especially powerful and
informative. The book ends with a discussion of endangered and extinct

What Is a Mammal? takes a similar approach in defining mammals and then
using one or two pages to identify the major characteristics of the
various types. This book is more vocabulary-rich in that such terms as
monotremes, lagomorphs, carnivores are integral to the discussion. The
photos are excellent, but the book could have used more diagrams to
illustrate some of the difficult concepts, such as placental growth,
echolocation, and baleen filtering of food.

All in all, these books are wonderful tools with which to start
children on their discovery of the animal kingdom and their place in it.


Kalman, Bobbie., “What Is the Animal Kingdom?,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/21090.