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Author: Janet Halfmann

Illustrator: Laurie Allen Klein

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Publisher: Arbordale Publishing, 2007

Material: hard cover

Summary: After a yummy breakfast of ants, Skink is ready to bask in the sun on his rock. But a crow has another plan. To save himself, Skink snaps off his tail, diverts the crow's attention, and gets away. But then he misses his tail ... and he wonders what it would be like to have tails like the other animals in the forest. This picture book offers a story about how animals use their tails to adapt in nature.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 5 to 8

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 2.6

Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child was reluctant to read this book and was not interested at first ... until s/he spotted Little Skink's blue tail! S/He thought it was fun to imagine Little Skink with all of the other animal tails.

Adult Reader Reaction: We like the way this story introduced animal science. The story itself explains how a skink protects itself, but the fact sheet in the back rounds out the role tails play for other forest animals. The activity pages were a bonus, and we enjoyed learning together with our child.

Pros: This picture book offers some basic animal science in a story that children will find engaging. The activities in the back help children learn about other forest creatures, including their tracks.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Skinks aren't reptiles you read much about, and this one offers details in an easy-to-remember format. The activities also add to the learning.


Educational Themes: The author offers readers a lot of learning in this book. The story talks about the food chain (ants-skinks-crows), explains what tails do for animals, teaches kids about footprints, and offers lessons in grid study and map orientation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, nature

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2007

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