Nic Bishop is on a roll cranking out animal books with stunning pictures and interesting information. Spiders, Frogs, Butterflies and now, Marsupials. Nic’s motto seems to be, “have camera, will travel.” This time he heads to Australia where the world’s largest concentration of marsupials live.
Mammals are warm-blooded animals that have fur and raise their babies on milk. Mammals are dogs, cats, cows, bears, etc. Marsupials are a special kind of mammal whose mothers raise their babies inside a furry pouch. The most well-known marsupials are probably kangaroos. But there are lots of marsupials – opossums, koalas, wombats…and bettons, bilbies, potoroos & dibblers. I’ve never even heard of those, have you? This book will give you an up close look at these furry little pouched creatures. Some of them look made up – like someone took parts of different animals and stuck them together.
One of the marsupials is a tasmanian devil – like Taz on Looney Toons. The real tasmanian devils don’t really look like Taz, they look like cute mini black bears. Their behavior, though, is more like Taz. They get really excited when they eat and like to fight over food, their favorite being animals that have been dead for so long they smell bad. Yuck! They also have really, really strong jaws that can crunch through bones. When I think about those habits, then I can picture crazy, slobbery Taz and see where he got his name.
Sandy and Jack are scared of their Dad. He knocked their little brother down the stairs one day and then their brother never woke up again.
One day, their Dad shows up at school to take them home, but he doesn’t go home…he gets on the interstate and drives hours and hours and hours from Pennsylvania to the Florida Keys. He won’t answer their questions about where their Mom is either.
Convinced that their Dad is dangerous and has hurt their Mom, the boys wait for him to fall asleep, steal his money, “borrow” a boat and flee into an area of the Florida Keys known as “Crocodile Swamp.” Surely no one will follow them into a crocodile infested swamp.
Armed with some basic survival skills and knowledge about the habits of the critters sharing the swamp including crocodiles, sharks and poisonous snakes, the boys set up camp.
With the help of an old fisherman and a young girl they meet making supply runs, the boys manage to evade their Dad..for awhile. During their life in hiding, the boys come to understand that people survival skills are just as important as wild surival skills and that figuring out who your allies are is very important indeed.
This story has some tough family problems in it but the resourcefulness of the boys, their desire to stay together and the friends who step up to help them find their way out of a scary situation make it a good true-to-life adventure. Author: Jim Arnosky
The author of The Pirates of Crocodile Swamp is also a nature writer. Here are a couple of his books about the swamp, wild places and wild things. The action in Crocodile Swamp is very realistic because Mr. Arnosky knows so much about the Florida Keys. If you liked this wilderness survival story, try Alabama Moon or The Night of the Howling Dogs. In these, kids use their knowledge to survive in the wild also.
Penhaligon Brush is quiet, trustworthy and loved by the people in his town, Ramble-on-the-Water. He’s the town apothecary – he mixes herbal remedies for his neighbors. Penhaligon is also a fox, well, part fox anyway.
When Penhaligon receives a strange message from his brother he sets out for his brother’s home in a neighboring village only to find that the whole village is desserted and dark. Then he is attacked and finds himself thrown in the dungeon by a smelly ferret army led by the evil wildcat Derek. The quiet, mild mannered fox turns out to be tough, smart, and good with a sword! He rallies together the good guys and they hatch a clever plan to save each other, their Princess and their villages. Author: S. Jones Rogan
See Inside The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush
Penhaligon’s adventures continue in book #2, The Curse of the Romany Wolves. If you like reading about warrior animals, try one of the next three. Each one is the first in a series, so if you like one of them there are more to follow.
This is the sixth, and Avi says the last, story about Poppy the mouse. I’ll warn you, you’re going to need some kleenex for this one, but that’s all I’m going to say. The characters in this book might be bats and mice and porcupines but you actually care about them! I really don’t want to see a mouse in my house, but if the mouse were Poppy, well, then I’d let her stay! In this one Poppy has another adventure, even though she is now a Grandmother many times over. The best part is, Poppy’s got a grandson named Spruce who just might have her adventurous spirit too! Author: Avi Series: Poppy
If you’ve ever thought about what it might be like to be your pet, try Crusher’s story, the tale of snake held captive in a young boy’s bedroom.
Remember Syd in Toy Story? The boy who abused toys? Remember, Syd straps Woody and Buzz to the rocket? The boy in this story reminds me of Syd. I really would not want to be one of his pets.
The boy’s name is Gunnar and he has captured Crusher because he wants to watch her eat mice. Gunnar gets mad when Crusher refuses to eat. Crusher is determined to escape despite the warnings given to her by other captive creatures in Gunnar’s room. When he gets bored, Gunner forgets to feed the animals. In their view, the only way out is dead.
Crusher is determined to break that cycle and studies the human that has captured her to strategize a way out.
It’s always good to think about things from another person (or animal’s) perspective. As Crusher says, ”Humans give me the creeps. Theyare so slimy.” Crusher will remind you to get up and go feed those goldfish and take the dog for a nice long walk. Those pets can’t talk, but if they could, they’d probably sound a lot like Crusher.