K-Gr 2-These books aim to introduce beginning readers to basic concepts in an entertaining manner. The author employs familiar characters from Dr. Seuss's "Cat in the Hat" titles to present information showing the diverse range of birds and mammals. The manic parade of rhyming facts, however, is confusing and contrived. Fine Feathered Friends is annoyingly superficial. In Is a Camel a Mammal?, a number of examples prove that mammals come in all sizes, live in many types of environments, and have various eating habits. Two basic facts, however, are mentioned in the glossary but not in the text: that mammal babies feed on their mothers' milk, and that they have backbones. In both books, the cartoon illustrations fail to distinguish among the many creatures. Series such as "Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science" (HarperCollins), "Read and Wonder" (Candlewick), and Jim Arnosky's "Crinkleroot" books (S & S) are all better choices.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 1999 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
"There is a big gap between 'concept' books written for preschoolers and nonfiction that requires fluent reading skills. The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library books introduce beginning readers to important basic concepts about the natural world. They provide the critical foundations upon which complex facts and ideas can eventually be build. In addition, The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library shows young readers that books can be entertaining and educational at the same time. This is a wonderful series!" — Barbara Kiefer, Associate Professor, Reading and Literature Teachers College, Columbia University
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