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African Critters Hardcover – September 9, 2008

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$11.71 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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African Critters + African Animal Alphabet (National Geographic Little Kids)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Haas has culled from his experiences as a wildlife photographer for National Geographic and selected various vignettes about encounters with leopards, elephants, wild dogs, lions, hyenas, hippos, rhinos, and cheetahs. There are moments of drama and tension, awe and sadness in the first-person narratives. The author makes it clear that predators need to eat animals to survive, and he is obviously aware of his young audience. Although a buffalo herd kills a lion cub, the chapter ends with the information that its two siblings have survived and are safely rejoined with their mother. The writing is strong enough to stand on its own, but the photos steal the show. Close-ups allow youngsters to see the shadows in the eyes of a lion, a string of saliva in the mouth of a hyena, and a single purple dragonfly resting over the eye of a crocodile. Whether they are blurred to emphasize an animal's speed or sharp enough to count the whiskers on a mother cheetah, each photo or montage is a narrative on its own. On nearly every spread, a sidebar gives information about the species, and an insert at the beginning of the book describes the photographer's typical workday, hour by hour. Haas refers to the animals as "critters," generally considered a regional or slang term for "creatures," which may be jarring to some readers at first but will quickly be forgotten as the stories unfold. Each of the seven chapters would work as a read-aloud for an individual or group. Together they paint a fascinating picture of the work of a wildlife photographer.—Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* A deadly hunter, the leopard is also a loving parent to its newborn cubs, and Haas shows both roles in his beautiful photo-essay about African wildlife, which features pictures he took over several years in southern African game reserves. The brief, chatty text and the unframed pictures catch the harsh reality of the animals’ life-and-death struggle: “No good guys, no bad guys; it’s about survival.” Haas’ writing is  needlessly exclamatory; the zoology and the photos are astonishing enough all by themselves. There’s the poignant picture of a mother hyena carrying her cubs to a den, with the accompanying explanation that the cubs were later killed by a lion. Then there’s the shot of an angry bull elephant. Is the beast protecting a tiny new baby? What about the huge hippo, charging with its mouth wide open, or “Itty Bitty Critters,” such as the dung beetle? Each of the chapters, some of which are 10 pages long, provides fascinating details about animal behavior, and numerous boxed notes fill in more facts about numbers and anatomy. A final spread summarizes the “critters” profiled, from antelope to zebra. Even with all the glossy animal books already crowding the shelves, this book is a must-purchase; students and teachers will find it an exceptionally strong combination of action, information, and conservation. Proceeds go to the Humane Society of the United States. Grades 3-5. --Hazel Rochman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 1020L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426303173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426303173
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. D. Ward on October 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed the concept of this book. The reader learns some facts of the animals and views breathtaking photos. Top class! Marketed to younger readers but the photography make it suitable for all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By momOf2 on June 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The photos in this book are beautiful and capture the animals in their natural environment. The story is a bit shallow and elementary, but we boutgh this for my 2year old who is intrigued with all things lion, giraffe, buffalo, and rhino so we don't read the story anyway. Disappointed a bit that the cover shows giraffes and zebra but there is no content within the book about either. All is well in our house without it but a bit misleading. Overall, great buy for the photos.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brynn Manzella on March 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book touched me. The photos are amazing, but what I love best about this book is the emphasis on telling a story of each animal. In a world of books too often focused on factoids and high-adventure drama, this book makes kids fall in love with animals simply by sharing their stories, true stories, about the beauty and adversity of life on the savannah. Both of my sons (5 and 7) LOVE this book. So do I.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was another children's animal picture book until I read it to my son. It was filled with pictures and real life stories that my son really enjoyed. Although the stories could be a bit scary, they were real life experience shared by the author that kids can learn from.

As a kid who would rather play then read, I was pleasantly surprised when my son decided on his own to read it to his friends during a play date with his friends.

I highly recommend this book for preschoolers and beginning readers. The pictures are spectacular and the stories make a wonderful introduction to the "real" animal world.
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