This generation of children is used to accessing information through multi-sensory, fast-paced, ever changing digital media.  How does a simple book compete?

I’ve seen elementary aged boys leave their video games to explore 3-D Close Up Animal Camouflage and Animal Homes by Silver Dolphin. Moving from insect cities to water homes, nest builders and underground burrows, Animal Homes is half detailed illustrations and photographs and half supporting text to engage the visual and auditory learner. A pop-up beaver lodge reveals the main entrance tunnel and the emergency exit while illustrating the hollowed out lodge to protect from predators, while the meercat’s desert network of underground tunnels provides sleeping chambers and housing for companion animals.

Filled with language lessons, these books can be used to encourage children to explain “Why?” coherently putting their thoughts together to link cause and effect such as “Why does the meercat need long claws and muscular back legs?” “Why does he need protective covering on his eyes?” “Why is a beaver safe from a wolf in his lodge?” “How is the grey squirrel’s nest different from a baker bird’s? and Why?” Learning and talking about how animals plan, build and use their shelters starts a lively discussion in comparison, prediction, and cause-effect. These books can be used for writing first reports about an animal, gathering facts and supporting with detail. The short chunks of text make it easier for kids to get at the facts and develop a main idea.

Use animal habitats and disguises to develop language lessons for learning.

The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “Animal Camouflage” and “Animal Homes” were provided for review by Silver Dolphin.