Reviewed by Judy Kraus
Snapping turtles, heat–detecting rattlesnakes, attacking caimans and slithering anacondas are just a few of animals featured in this book. Each two–page spread features a single animal with elements that highlight physical features, behaviors, and habitats. The lightning speed of the striking taipan, the hissing of the king cobra, and the venomous bite of the sea snake are but a few of the mesmerizing details tempting you to turn the page. The modern format with inset facts, photos, and diagrams scattered across each spread will entice young readers.
The series is packed with colorful photographs of a wide range of animals. Text features are woven into the tale to provide an abundance of information. A director’s take displays basic facts including length, habitat, location, and weapons each predator possesses. Whether it is a crocodile's tooth or the newborn black caiman's head, life science photographs are pictured and measured. The killer facts section for each animal presents special characteristics, like the puff adder's 40 cm girth. There is one fold–out of a life size animal in each book of the series. In this book, the alligator's jaw jumps off the page—a fearsome proposition! Bold print words are defined in the glossary or the contextual clues may lead the intermediate reader to derive the meaning of these words.
Throughout the books of this series, animals were ranked based on the author’s interpretation of “deadly.” At the closing of the book the reader is encouraged to explore what makes one animal more deadly than another. Is it speed or strength? Is it teeth or claws? Websites are suggested to take the discussion further and develop a rating scale that may be used toward “predator points.” In the end, you decide.
Review posted on 8/22/2012