Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks?: And Other Questions about Animals
by Buffy Silverman

Price at time of review: $26.60
40 pp.
Lerner Publications Co.
Minneapolis, MN
ISBN: 9780822590835

Grade Level: 4-6

Reviewed by Tracy Alley
Teacher & Coordinator of Gifted Programs, Madeira City Schools & Adjunct Professor for the University of Cincinnati

This is a book every student who loves animals will want to pick up and read. The cover photo of a dog on a skateboard and the attractive font style will grab readers' attention. The timeless questions throughout the entire book are typical of the thoughts of children as well as adults.

The subject matter is very engaging, and the contents page is inviting. The question-style format, with page numbers and photos, allows readers to easily navigate the book. This is a book that you would not necessarily read from front to back, but a book from which you might select an answer to a question to begin a science class or as a filler at the end of the school day.

There are really neat “Did You Know…?” sections with real-life photos mixed with graphics. The information throughout the book is contained in text boxes so it's not intimidating to readers with disabilities or attention issues. The text is easy to understand, and the author does a nice job keeping the answers concise and entertaining. My students loved this book and continually crave this type of nonfiction. There is a wonderful glossary, a bibliography, a further reading section, and an index at the end of the book; these are helpful to readers as well as teachers and parents. I highly recommend this book for a science classroom or school library.

Review posted on 1/27/2010

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