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J. P. Taylor
Getting to Know African Animals
J. P. Taylor, author

Picture Book; Science, Nature, Technology; (Market)

Getting to Know African Animals introduces emergent readers to some of the most iconic African animals. Each page features an amazing full-color image of the animal and text that delivers interesting facts in a simple, easy-to-understand style. From antelopes to zebras, young readers will also learn details about the animals from real African safari guides, experienced experts who conduct wildlife tours in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa. Recommended for ages 6 to 8.
Environmental advocate Taylor (Eye-dentifying Endangered Animals) aims to introduce children to the wonders of African wildlife in this information-rich picture book. He delivers hard and fast animal facts on Africa’s most famous creatures—alongside nature photographs and snippets from actual African safari guides—bringing the “second-largest of all the areas of land on earth called continents” to life. Taylor starts with animals that most young readers will already be familiar with, like the lions of the savanna and the elephants of the bush and forest, but he gradually introduces less celebrated species and entertains with intriguing one-liners, like “Hippos are the only big mammals that live both in the water and on the land.”

Educators will relish the wealth of knowledge in this ode to learning. Readers will discover how to tell leopards and cheetahs apart (hint: it’s all in their spots), the function of a black rhino’s curved upper lip, and the unique sounds made by wildlife in the African region–among many other noteworthy critter features. Taylor also spotlights the distinctive habitats in the area, from thick forests to savannas, and how they protect and provide for their animal inhabitants. Young readers will be interested to learn that elephants require “30 gallons of water or more every day.”

Taylor distinguishes this animal guide by including original counsel from real-life African safari guides, each of whom is introduced with a photo. Guide Bradden Stevens shares that “We call a group of zebras a ‘dazzle,’” while Kenneth Tumusiime, a 13-year veteran guide from Uganda, reveals that smaller animals congregate around giraffes “because they have long necks and are so tall they can see predators before they attack.” The vivid photos, taken by a wide range of nature photographers, illuminate the region’s stunning landscape and its awe-inspiring animals, particularly the panoramic shot of wildebeest crossing the Mara River during their Great Migration. This survey is sure to ignite fascination—and possibly a conservationist’s passion--in readers.

Takeaway: An entertaining guide to some of Africa’s most memorable wildlife, rich with detail and fascinating facts.

Great for fans of: National Geographic Kids, Sandra Markle’s What if You Had Animal Teeth!?

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A