Why Are Animals Blue?
by Melissa Stewart

Price at time of review: $22.60
32 pp.
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Berkeley Heights, NJ
ISBN: 0766032515

Grade Level: 1-3

Reviewed by David Gillam
Begich Middle School

The books in the Rainbow of Animals series use vibrant colors and fun facts to take readers through the world to explain how color helps creatures survive. Each volume provides a beautiful introduction to animal adaptations using a concept to which children can relate.  

High-interest content, bright color, and a controlled vocabulary draw readers in. This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2010 starts by asking readers to think of animals of a specific color that might live near them. They are then introduced to a variety of animals, from finned to feathered. Each is depicted, close-up, in a two-page spread with a clear description of how color is useful to the animal. We see endangered Golden Monkeys from China and learn that their blue faces contrast with their surroundings and allow them to find each other. Color can also be used to warn other animals, attract mates, and provide camouflage. After reading about the different animals in the book, readers are introduced to two new animals and are encouraged to figure out how the animals' color helps them to survive in their environments.

One interesting feature of the book is a glossary of “Words to Know” at the beginning. The words are later highlighted in the text for readers. Near the end of the book, individual world maps show where each animal lives. The maps show the animals' ranges and would make a nice starting point to discuss the affects of environmental changes and how they might affect the animals. Each book in the series also contains a bibliography of other recently published books with more information about color in nature.

Review posted on 3/11/2009

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