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Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth Paperback


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Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth + What's Eating You?: Parasites -- The Inside Story + Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763641278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763641276
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 9.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 4-6–We humans are such a bunch of wimps!…we can't live without food, or water, and just a few minutes without air is enough to finish us off. Luckily, not all life is so fragile. So begins Davies's breezy, engaging, and thoroughly informative natural history of some of the most tenacious survivors on the planet. There is life everywhere on Earth, even in the bubbling volcano, the driest desert, the polar wastelands, and much of that life thrives in conditions that humans could not endure for five minutes or less. This funny and appealing little book describes who these amazing life-forms are and how they manage to survive. Simple and inviting cartoon drawings enliven the text and convey the types of extremes in an easy-to-understand manner. This book is filled with report information, but also is interesting enough to read for fun. It will pique children's curiosity and have them clamoring to learn more about these unique creatures.–Cynde Suite, Bartow County Library System, Adairsville, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* "We humans are such a bunch of wimps . . . all over the planet there are animals that relish the sort of conditions that would kill a human quicker than you could say 'coffin'." Davies' chatty, funny text and Layton's colorful cartoons illustrations, as playful and immediate as they were in Davies' Poop (2004), will pull kids into the fascinating book about survival. Each double-page spread makes a wealth of information accessible to kids--facts about particular mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, bacteria, and more, which thrive in habitats ranging from polar wastelands to deserts and volcanoes. Cold-blooded frogs turn themselves into "frog popsicles" by making "ice grow between all the important bits of their bodies"; sperm whales store oxygen in their blood and muscles; microorganisms called thermophiles live near volcanoes or at the bottom of the sea and eat chemicals such as sulfur and iron; and fleas can resist gravity that would break human bones. Comparisons with humans add to the fun, whether the subject is reptiles' special pee or a camel's yo-yo temperature. Exciting biology for the elementary-school classroom. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The illustrations are cartoony and funny.
Carol
Science can be an awful lot of fun and I love learning new facts about the creatures that live on Earth.
tvtv3
I am a teacher and love to use this book as a read-aloud mentor text with my 4th grade writers.
PBarnes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Maria Beadnell on February 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lots of people have written about penguins, polar bears, and bacteria--but not this way! Nicola Davies has written stories about the roughest, toughest, baddest animals there are, so funny I was laughing out loud and so good I couldn't put it down.

She brings life to the dullest subjects. Is a sponge an interesting creature? It never was to me, but her account is. She says, "To be honest, even live sponges don't do much. They just sort of sit there and grow. But put one in a blender and you'll see that they do something no other animal can: pour your sponge smoothie back into its seawater home, and it will put itself back together..."

Explanations that are accurate but make sense to a non-scientist (animals with "antifreeze" in their bodies, for example) and deceptively simple illustrations by Neal Layton make this one of my new favorite books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Kissling on June 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It is fun to browse through (cartoon-like illustrations make it fun). But it is definitely a book chock full of information. How do seals dive so deep and not get the bends? How do frogs survive winter after being frozen like popsicles? Can an organism really survive temperatures exceeding 230 degrees or as low as absolute zero, -459 F? Not only does this little book provide these answers and explanations, it will leave the reader hungry for more mind-blowing revelations about life on this planet, and perhaps on the next. Warning: It will be difficult not to read snippets to whomever is in the room with you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Extreme Animals" keeps the reader under its spell from first page to last. Short segments revealing impossible survival facts are accompanied by whimsical, fun illustrations that coincide with and reinforce the text. The author jumps from topic to topic with abandon, dropping one jaw-dropping factual bombshell after another. Each turn of the page introduces a new topic, a new creature, and multiple surprises, revelations, and biological marvels that rival anything Ripley has to offer.

I like the playful, impish illustrations of Neal Layton whose pictures seem to have been drawn by a clever elementary school age artist. Layton's drawings reinforce and illustrate the text well exhibiting some slapstick and subtle humor along the way. One of my favorites is the full page featuring the Kosiest Koat Kontest with a smiling musk ox, seal otter, and bikini'd bowhead whale on the stage under the spotlights. Another full page graphic opposite text explaining how an emperor penguin doesn't lose heat from its feet illustrates the facts perfectly with a diagram of the inner workings of the penguin and an illustrated explanation of the Penguin's amazing coat of feathers. And the pic of the lab tech with a nose on the side of his face is a hoot.

Extreme Animals is a book that belongs in the classroom. It's a book that can teach vocabulary and science facts. It's a book that might kindle a love of reading, that might inspire and motivate a quest for additional knowledge. For example, the author writes of the invasive crown-of-thorns starfish that were cut into pieces, each piece growing back into a new starfish. I'm sure some readers would want to know more about these crown-of thorns starfish .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol on August 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Anyway, I love this book. I mean it. If you have a kid in like 3-5 grade who loves animals, buy this one. It's filled with truly amazing facts about all kinds of critters, including polar bears, wood frogs, thermophiles and sperm whales. Compared to the other animals, humans are just wimps. And who would have known that the the title for toughest creature would go to one I've never hear of before. Of course, you'll have to read the book to find out what it is. I'll give you a clue: it starts with a "T" and is really small.

The book is conversational in tone, with the facts thrown in. It makes it enjoyable to read, not at all dry. The illustrations are cartoony and funny. It's learning and fun rolled into one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Even though I studied English in college, I'm kind of a science nerd. Science can be an awful lot of fun and I love learning new facts about the creatures that live on Earth. EXTREME ANIMALS is one of the better short animal fact books, oriented towards children, that I've read in several years. The book examines a wide variety of creatures on the planet that are capable of living and surviving under the harshest conditions. From the freezing cold temperatures of the Artic to the blasting inferno inside a volcano to the massive pressure living near the bottom of the ocean to the ferocious aridity of a desert to the zero atmosphere of space, there are animals and organisms from our planet that can survive all of those environments and more. The book is written in a very easy-to-understand manner, e.g. comparing they way frogs use sugar to keep from freezing to antifreeze, and is sure to be a joy for young enquiring minds. The text is accompanied with playful, almost animated illustrations from Neal Layton that make the book even easier to enjoy, as well as displaying some of the information visually. A highly recommended book for those interested in science and animals (especially children), as well as something to supplement a science lesson in a preschool class.
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