From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 2–6—Arnosky's infectious enthusiasm for nature is evident in this short overview. The author invites readers to notice the variations among the tracks of different animals native to North America and the ways that the tracks of individual species can change and fool us. Readers learn that bears walking on slippery surfaces splay their toes so that their tracks give the impression of a larger animal. Arnosky lets children in on these insiders' tips with the amiable tone of a knowledgeable guide. Three kinds of illustrations support the text. The left side of each spread displays one of the artist's signature paintings with a colorful setting backing up a precisely rendered animal. Pencil sketches of rows of tracks with measurements hint at the notebook he keeps (and surely hopes that his young readers will keep as well). Finally, life-size paintings of indented prints serve as a guide for readers lucky enough to find an animal track for comparison. Four fold-out pages add to the appeal of the book as a package but may not hold up well through many circulations. There are a number of other books on this topic for children, including Arnosky's own Crinkleroot's Guide To Animal Tracking
(S & S, 1989; o.p.), but this new entry is worthy of purchase for its inviting format and its promising premise that kids can find tracks, interpret them, and have a great time outdoors.—Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA
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With this book’s large format and simple organizational structure, Arnosky’s latest trek into the world of North American wildlife makes a terrific beginning field guide. Tracks are separated into categories (bear, deer, cat, and so on), each presented in a two-page spread. On the left, a full-color painting displays an animal, and its tracks, in its natural habitat. On the right, information about the tracks, and how to read them, appears as pencil-sketch reproductions from Arnosky’s own notebook. Subsequent pages follow each category with paintings of life-size prints, with some pages folding out to accommodate the biggest. Arnosky supplements the track identification information with fascinating related material in notebook-style entries. Although the treatment of each category varies some, noting everything from length of stride to footprint changes in different seasons, the uniformly lovely illustrations and the compelling concept make this a book that young naturalists will enjoy year-round. Grades 1-3. --Thom Barthelmess