From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—Gibbons's signature artwork splashes across the pages of this competent look at crocodilians. While indicating that there are 14 species of crocs and 2 of gators, the author focuses mainly on the American alligator and the American crocodile, disparate cousins that share a geographical environment (with the crocs mainly hugging southern Florida and the Keys). Gibbons discusses anatomical differences and similarities, mobility, hunting techniques, nest building, and parenting in her brief, readable text, using illustrations and diagrams to drive home her points. She closes with a plea for the conservation of these relics from the days of the dinosaurs and an extra page of saurian factoids. Simpler than Lisa Bullard's What's the Difference Between an Alligator and a Crocodile?
(Picture Window) or Laurence Pringle's Alligators and Crocodiles!: Strange and Wonderful
(Boyds Mills, both 2009), this is a colorful introduction to a pair of reptiles in our Southern states, with some toothy eye-candy on the cover.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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This addition to Gibbons' extensive shelf of topic books draws young readers into the world of alligators and crocodiles by first asking readers to distinguish between them. She describes the physical similarities and differences between the two most common species of the world's largest reptiles, as well as their habitats, habits, prey, locomotion, senses, communication, mating and nesting behavior, and status as endangered species. The author has chosen facts that will engage her readers, organized the information logically, and presented it in straightforward exposition. Pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations show both species in their likely environment. Labels are plentiful and unfamiliar terms are explained in context. Two maps show where the species can be found around the world and where they coexist in the southern United States. While Gibbons' drawings don't have the fidelity of those of some other nature artists, the plants and animals surrounding these intriguing animals are generally recognizable. Additional factoids and a Web site suggestion for further research complete the package. Grades K-3. --Kathleen Isaacs