Monday, February 27, 2012
Nonfiction Monday: Prairie Dog's Hideaway by Dee Phillips
First of all, they are so cute! Like furry guinea pigs with extra fat bottoms! *pause for the cuteness*
Ok, now we can move on. The book introduces the young reader to a prairie dog town and basic facts about the prairie dog, then explores their underground homes with cut-away illustrations and photos. We learn why they live underground and how they escape from predators as well as how their underground homes fit into their life cycle - diet and baby prairie dogs.
The illustrations are a mixture of photographs and pictures with bubbles of extra text, captions with arrows, and a new feature, boxed text asking questions that students can think about like "This female prairie dog is carrying grass to her burrow. What do you think she will use the grass for?" Some of the captions are unnecessary, like the picture of a prairie dog digging, next to the text about prairie dogs digging their homes, has a caption reading "a prairie dog digging a burrow." There is one typo on page 20, "prarie" instead of prairie. The book ends with a "science lab" game, figuring out the closest hole for a prairie dog to run to. There is a section of "science words," burrow, mate, prairies, predators, squirrel and territory, each with a small picture and definition. The final page has a brief index, additional resources, and link to more information on Bearport's website.
Verdict: This is an interesting topic, but the couple oddities - the superfluous captions and typo - detract from what would otherwise be a solid offering for beginning and intermediate readers. I like the addition of questions throughout the text for the reader to think about, but the "science words" section was a little odd - since when is "squirrel" a "science word"? However, the subject matter and easy text outweigh these minor issues in my mind and I'd definitely put this series on the library's wishlist.