Meet Earth's largest living reptile. Crocodile-like animals lived on Earth more than two hundred million years ago. They outlived the dinosaurs. Today their descendants are found on five continents. They belong to a special group of reptiles called crocodilians. These animals are strange and wonderful indeed. For example, ferocious-looking mother alligators treat their hatchlings with tender care. Crocodilians may seem awkward on land, but they can move quickly. Usually they wait and watch from the water, then ambush their prey. From baby alligators that call to "Mom" from inside their eggs to grown alligators and crocodiles that bellow and roar, Laurence Pringle takes readers into the world of nature's largest—and noisiest—living reptiles. Bold, realistic illustrations by Meryl Henderson show every crocodilian species as well as details of their bodies and fascinating behavior.
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Laurence Pringle is the recipient of three major awards for his body of work in writing about science--the Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Literature, the Washington Post--Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in West Nyack, New York.
Meryl Henderson has illustrated many magazine stories and books for children, including Penguins! Strange and Wonderful and other books in the Strange and Wonderful series. She lives in upstate New York.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2–5—From the gentle care a mother alligator gives her hatchlings to their important role in food chains, crocodilians are treated with respect in this introductory look at the world's largest reptiles. Written in a conversational style without chapters or headings, the book provides brief descriptions of 21 species along with habitat information and drawn-to-scale illustrations. The text also discusses common characteristics of crocodilians, how to differentiate between a crocodile and an alligator, hunting and eating habits, and their movement on land and in the water. Information on nesting patterns, vocalizations, and the important role crocodilians had in several ancient civilizations is also included. There is one minor error: the text says that "the next six pages show 14 species," but they actually show 21. The concluding pages look at the dangers and challenges these animals face in the modern world and provide conservation suggestions, the names of related groups, and an excellent Web site. Finely detailed, realistic watercolors fill nearly every page, and labeled insets highlight facts from the text. Children will appreciate this book's thorough treatment, but the lack of an index may hamper its use for research. Pair it with a title such as Elaine Landau's Alligators and Crocodiles (Enslow, 2007) for those who prefer photographs.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
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