Down Under


32 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-86505-596-3
DDC j591.994





Christine Linge is a past director of the Toronto & District Parent
Co-operative Preschool Corporation, a freelance writer, and a bookseller
specializing in children’s literature.


In these latest volumes in Crabtree’s wonderful Animal Trackers Around
the World series, the reader is once again invited to “be an animal
detective.” With their sturdy construction, heavy semi-gloss paper,
and square shape (ideal for small hands), these volumes will survive
repeated consultations, even during a safari or polar trek. Although
vocabulary and sentence length are tailored to the primary reader, the
breadth of facts and scientific depth offered in these volumes make them
equally useful in junior grades.

Each volume describes 10 or 11 animals (mammals, birds, fish, and
amphibians) that typically occupy one particular habitat. In Down Under,
readers meet many of the creatures of Australia, and a smaller number
from New Zealand and New Guinea. At the Poles describes the inhabitants
of the North (e.g., red-throated loon) and South (e.g., leopard seal)
polar regions. Readers of On Safari trek across the African bush,
meeting a variety of creatures from the crocodile to the zebra on the
way. In the Jungle focuses on creatures living in every corner of the
planet, from the Asian gibbon to the South American jaguar. Excellent
color illustrations from a variety of sources complement the succinct
and highly informative text. Cleverly worded “headlines” introduce
paragraphs on different topics (the tiger’s superior nocturnal senses,
for example, are described under “Night Life”). Such devices serve
as mnemonics for the copious amount of information on each animal.

In keeping with the animal-tracker theme, the footprints or other marks
of each animal are pictured. However, with the international thrust of
this new series, there is less emphasis on other clues for tracking
animals; indeed, these volumes more closely resemble many other nature
books that list animal facts on diet, family groupings, and breeding.
Decorative sidebars on each page featuring drawings of the animals’
paws or feet add a warm touch. Recommended.


Paul, Tessa., “Down Under,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,