What’s not to love in a book with appendices titled: the animals (yes!), I love math (yippee!), and what is an average (woo hoo!)?? This book is a dream for young animal nerds. I got stuck on the page about female red kangaroos birthing 50 joeys in a lifetime while flipping through it on break. I had to go show my co-worker, who then noticed the page on seahorses. We love seahorses! And the male seahorse will carry and birth 1,000 baby seahorses! Zounds. (Did you see how I left out that last exclamation point? I’m trying to be more subdued in my enthusiasm these days. Ha.)
The art is perfect for this kind of book. You find yourself wondering if Christopher Silas Neal really drew 1,000 seahorses — probably, but I’m not sure I’m up for actually counting them. I will leave that wonderful job to a few nerdy 8 year olds I know. And then, THEN, you get to the bonus section where you learn how Lola Schaefer figured out the averages for these animals and how she loves math, and–THIS IS VERY EXCITING—there are even a few math problems for the reader to try. Oh my goodness!!!
Three exclamation points later, here I am. A fun book for kids with super art, interesting facts to learn and share, and groovy math brain work? It makes me want to do a little research on my own and come up with my own animal math problems. So much to do. Work, work, work. Think, think, think. Play, play, play. Fun, fun, fun.
(A note: this is not a new book, just new to me! For a new book also illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, see Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner & CSN. The Over and Under books are all wonderful looks at what happens above and below us in nature — in the dirt, in the snow, and also in the water)
Lifetime: the amazing numbers in animal lives by Lola M. Schaefer and Christopher Silas Neal