The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Animals Around the World: Africa Review by Cassie DeputieMitchell Lane Publishers
2001 SW 31st Avenue
Hallandale, FL 33009
I am on the hunt. Like a mama lion, always on a hunt to find books for my children to feast on. All genres of books covering a wide variety of topics to supply a nutritious and inspiring table of ideas is my game of choice. Some of the most exciting books are ones that fly my children over the oceans of the Earth and into the plains of a faraway lands, or across the world to places they would not be able to physically go. I love to inspire little eyes and little minds to the wonders of creations beyond their four painted bedrooms walls. An exciting series that we have been indulging in lately is the Animals Around the Word: Africa by Robert Scally.
This six-book series is crafted so each title specifically exposes the once secret life of an animal from Africa: Lions, Gorillas, Okapis, Zebras, Wildebeests, and Rhinos. These books are library bound and therefore extremely durable. I had never considered owning books that were library bound until I experienced these books, but as a mom of seven children, I now am hunting for books that are as durable and well put together as these ones are.
“EZ Reader” is the small logo found on the front cover of each book in the Animals Around the Word: Africa series and this is because the main pages of these books are primarily bright, detailed, breath-taking images of close encounters with the animal of discussion. Every photo is beautifully bordered with an African style print and color. There are only one or two sentences on each page having quite simple phrases and basic vocabulary words which are bolded and meant to be referenced in the back of the book where a short glossary is found. Some examples of these words are calves, rare, troops, mane, and gnu. My 5-year-old son could read these books with a little help from mom or dad and, in turn, got a basic understanding of how a glossary works.
Totaling twenty four pages in each book, the reader will learn what the animals eat, where their habitat is and what it consists of, what the is the behavior of each animal looks like, and will read and see a basic description of their appearance. At the conclusion of each book is a map of Africa with the countries that the animal lives in brightly highlighted in red (or green in the case of two species of rhinos). There is an extended list of interesting facts that an older reader would enjoy, or that a parent could read to elaborate to the aspiring zoologist. Other helpful information such as the proper name for the parts of that animal, a glossary, as mentioned above, and suggested titles and websites for further study also grace the last few pages of each composition.
We fixed these books on our main room bookcase for the children to grab and jump onto the couch or spread out on the floor to study. Over the course of several weeks, I began to observe how interested one of my children became with lions. He would insist on me reading this book to him repeatedly. His interest in lions has extended further then Animals Around the Word: Africaand he is requesting and dining on more lion books from the library on a weekly basis. I attribute this series to the spark of curiosity I now see in my little boy.
I enjoyed these books and am glad that they are a part of our never satisfied homeschool reference library. There is no fear that they will last for decades allowing all our children to be able to enjoy and benefit from their content. The library binding is by far my favorite aspect of these books.
At first, I did not like how little content these books had since I considered the price of this series as a whole and assumed, they would be larger and meatier reference books. However, understanding they are “EZ Readers” and appreciating the quality of them, I am pleased with them, overall. This hunting mama thinks that she found a good catch!
-Product review by Cassie Deputie, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2019