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National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books) Hardcover – October 12, 2010
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My 3 yo doesn’t have the attention span to listen to me read all the text, but we name each animal and I read a few interesting facts for him. Kids ages 5-6 or older would probably listen to or read all the text if they were interested in animals.
Each animal has a section about 2-4 pages long. These pages have very short and simple facts, and big, colorful images. It's short and sweet, but still captivating. There are also plenty of images of cute baby animals, which are always fun to look at!
Another great thing about this book is that it actually has a Parent Tips section with small activities to do with kids based on the animals in the book, and each one works with a different skill. They're all very simple to do, and some are more fun than educational, but fun and education should go hand in hand with kids to keep them interested. There is also a map with names of the animals labelled in each country.
Overall, this is an excellent beginner's book. It's not super detailed, but there are enough facts in there for a young child to retain, and with over 100 pages, that's a relief for parents who end up reading the whole thing to their kids in one sitting like I just did.
For each animal, it lists the kind of animal (mammal, amphibian, etc.), what continent it lives on, the size of the animal, what the animal eats, what sounds they make, and how many babies the animal has at a time. Most animals have 3-4 pages dedicated to information about them. I've been teaching my daughter about animal habitats (grassland, ocean, tundra, etc.) and I was thrilled that this book is actually divided into habitats and the animals that live in them. Some of the animals featured are cheetah, giraffe, sea otter, sea turtle, meerkat, camel, red eyed tree frog, black handed spider monkey, raccoon, tiger, beaver, harp seal, snowy owl, penguins, and octopus. I like that it included a variety of familiar animals we've seen at the zoo with some lesser known animals like the desert jerboa and blue striped grunt.
As a former teacher, this book would be a great way to introduce students to the features of a nonfiction encyclopedia such as a table of contents, title page, captions, index, and glossary, all of which are featured in this book. Another feature I liked was the two pages of parent tips that give you ideas for enrichment activities to do with your child, such as measuring their height, blowing underwater bubbles, creating a diorama, clue games, and rhyming words. The book also has a world map that shows the continents and lists the animals in the book next to the continent they live on. There are so many educational aspects to this book and I can't believe it was only $9! It's such a high quality book and definitely one that we read a lot.
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However, the packaging it arrived in was ridiculous. It was a HUGE box full of crumpled paper for absorbing shock, and under it all was a single book. I could've fitted at least 30 such books in there. Come on, Amazon, think about the environment and save on paper. A simple postal envelope would do.
They aren't many words per page but there will be enough to keep her interested when she starts reading properly.
By why is there no Kangaroo? There is mention of two animals with pouches, yet you skip the obvious one.
There are no elephants or crocodiles which is just weird.