From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3 Organized by geographic setting forests, mountains, grasslands, the shore this picture book introduces some of South America's unique animals. The one- to two-paragraph entries per animal are boxed against stunningly beautiful double-page photographs of the creatures. For example, the black feathers on the toucan's head glisten like jet beads and the emerald tree boa sleeping on a branch is a symphony in green. Each narrative employs an economic use of language yet communicates important details, such as the way the New World monkeys use their tails to grip branches "Monkeys that live in Africa and Asia can't do this." An attractive browsing book. Frances E. Millhouser, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
African Animals is Caroline Arnold's one hundredth book for children. She writes both fiction and nonfiction on a variety of subjects, including animals, fossils, and sports. In 1994 she was presented with an award from the Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People for her outstanding body of work. She also teaches part-time in the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, Arthur, a neurobiologist at UCLA. They have two children, Jennifer and Matthew.
In Her Own Words...
"I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and, until I was ten, lived in a settlement house where my parents worked as social workers. My summers, however, were spent at a small camp in northern Wisconsin, and it was there that I developed my love of animals and the outdoors. I delighted in catching sight of a deer leaping through the underbrush or a porcupine scrambling up a pine tree.
"One of the best things about writing animal books today is that I am able to spend a great deal of time in zoos and wildlife parks, watching how animals behave. I also try to observe the animals I write about in their natural habitats. I saw most of the species in African Animals when I spent four months in East Africa.
"Writing allows me to read many books. I was always an avid reader; as a child, I once embarked on a project with my best friend to read all the books in the local branch of our public library. I studied art and English at Grinnell College in Iowa and later received my M.A. in art from the University of Iowa.
"When my children were young, I thought I would use my art training to illustrate books for them. I soon realized, however, that I needed stories to illustrate, so I began to write. Both artists and writers must develop a keen sense of observation; they must notice what things look like and how they work. My goal in each of my books is to provide a close-up view of my subject, and I do that by focusing on details.
"I no longer draw. Today, most of my books are illustrated with photographs. I have learned to appreciate the difficulty of getting just the right photo. You can't tell an elephant, "Just turn this way a little more, please."
"I am amazed by the enormous diversity in the natural world and fascinated by the ways in which every creature is adapted to survive. My hope is that if kids fall in love with the animals in my books, as I do when I write about them, they will be concerned for the animals' future and want to do what they can to protect the animals and the places where they live."