Contains Photos, Illustrations, Index
Crabtree Publishing’s “It’s Fun to Learn About Animals” series knows exactly what toddlers want to see in their books — baby animals. Not only is this series entertaining for its intended age group, but they are educational as well.
Each book follows a fairly specific formula. Each animal is presented by explaining what species the animal is, followed by its habitat and physiology, though not always in that exact order. The books then generally explain the family dynamics of the animal, always with a focus on the mother’s relationship with her babies. Eating habits are discussed, as are some general facts, then the books close with an individualized fun section at the end.
This may seem like a very sterile format, but it actually works out perfectly for young children learning to read and who are just learning about animals. The language is simple yet informative. Important words, like “mammal,” “skeleton,” or “pack” are in bold for emphasis, and each bold word appears at the end of the book in an index. Additionally, there are multiple photos on every page, and many of them have labels to clearly indicate to the child how the photo relates.
The photos and text are great, but the best part of these books is always the final spread that is relatively unique to each book. In Baby Polar Bears and Baby Elephants, the sections are still fairly informational, with both sections being about how those species are in danger. In Baby Lemurs, the last section is about their habit of dancing. Baby Chipmunks features two pages of chipmunks doing funny things. Baby Pigs has a true or false quiz on pig facts, while Baby Giraffes has a quiz on their body language. Baby Wolves, Baby Bunnies, and Baby Foxes all feature trivia. The only book that disappoints along this format is Baby Raccoons, which just has more information on how racoons interact with people and each other.
The kids seem to love this series, and as a parent, I do too. Not only are my kids excited to read about the animals and look at the pictures, but I know that they are learning at the same time. Highly recommended.