extremeExtreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton

Are you ready for the competition? From the persevering emperor penguins of the South Pole to the brave bacteria inside bubbling volcanoes, from the hardy reptiles of the driest deserts to the squash-proof creatures of the deepest seabeds, animals have adapted to survive in conditions that would kill a human faster than you can say “coffin.” Discover how they do it in this amazing natural history book from a celebrated team — and find out who wins the title of the toughtest animal of them all!

My thoughts:

Amber and I have been reading a lot of shorter books in the evening lately, ones from her shelves, like this one, which is why I’ve had several kids books reviews lately. Don’t worry, I do still read “adult” ones. I’ve got at least one review scheduled for part of a blog tour next week and will hopefully finish a couple other books soon, too.

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.

Here are a couple of tidbits to give you a feel for the book.

We humans get sick if our temperatures go up more than a couple of degrees, and a rise of 11°Fcan be lethal. But camels let their temperatures go up and down like yo-yos, changing by as much as 14°F.

Instead, you would need to go down in something that looks more like a spacecraft from a science-fiction movie: a submersible, with a very thick hull to resist that super-squashing pressure and big headlights to see with, because the deep sea is completely dark. All sorts of weird and wonderful animals would loom in the headlights: hatchetfish, gulper eels, tripod fish, luminous squid, and starfish on stalks. And not one of them would seem bothered by that huge weight of water. They certainly wouldn’t look squashed.

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