Snow leopards are fascinating, beautiful, intriguing animals. Unfortunately, this book is none of those things.
I have long had a private (ok, well, not so private) dislike of Pebble's offerings of nonfiction. Basically, they're not enough bang for the buck. Expensive, library bound editions should have something worth binding, in my opinion.
This book is part of the Pebble Wildcats series. Twenty-four pages give simple facts about snow leopards accompanied by large photographs of snow leopards running, with babies, in the snow, and looking broodingly handsome, which snow leopards do very well.
The text is stilted and awkward, obviously straining to conform to "national science standards related to life sciences" as well as specific vocabulary and reading level requirements. A sample of the text says, "At around 20 months, young leopards leave their mothers. Adult cats live alone. They use claw marks and smells to mark their ranges." I would assume that the author was handed a list of vocabulary words and reading levels and told to make sure the text fit. The photographs are detailed, and there really isn't such a thing as a "bad" photograph of a snow leopard (the whole broodingly handsome thing) but I found it increasingly annoying that there was no information given on where the photographs were taken. Considering how endangered and difficult to see snow leopards are, I would guess most of these photographs were taken in zoos, but although there is a list of photo credits, no further information is given.
For an easy reader, this text is acceptable. But, as a librarian with a small budget, I object to paying $20 for an easy reader with such limited, bland text and obvious stock photography. I will wait for a book that appeals to a wider variety of ages and reading levels.
Verdict: Save your money. Buy Sy Montgomery's Saving the Ghost of the Mountain for your older readers and join me in waiting for a better snow leopard book for younger readers and listeners. Anyone have suggestions?
ISBN: 9781429644839; Published August 2010 by Pebble (Capstone); Borrowed from the library