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Book Review of Guide to Animals

The author, Frank Sherwin has organized his introduction to animals in interesting ways. The message is conveyed partly by the text, partly by his organization of topics, but also by the amazing variety of beautiful illustrations. In style, this book closely resembles its sister publication Guide to Creation Basics.

Mr. Sherwin begins by introducing us to animals. We learn what animals are and where they come from. He does not actually say it, but the common feature of animals is that they can move (obvious from the text and pictures). And the origin of animals was their creation on days 5 and 6 of the creation week.

To the question why there are so many animal designs, the author introduces us to the major body plans. We also see variety within kinds, but there are limits to this variation (so one kind cannot change into another kind.)

Firstly then we meet some swimming designs created on day five. Here we find jellyfish, sharks, rays and skates, and dolphins, whales and porpoises (but for some reason no ordinary bony fish).  Then we encounter several day five flying designs including dragonflies, bees and birds. Among both the creatures of the air, and creatures of the sea, we see a variety of body plans.

Thirdly we discover animals that live and move on land (created on day 6). These include tigers, elephants, horses, dogs, cats, monkeys, apes and sheep (all mammals the elementary readers are familiar with), as well as snakes (reptiles), ants (insects), spiders (arachnids), and penguins (birds). Note that penguins are included on the day 6 list but other birds are listed for day 5.

A section follows on extinct creatures including flying, marine and land dwelling creatures. Here we meet pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs and dinosaurs, respectively.

So what are some of the design features which provide for the lifestyles of these animals? Differences in diet, breathing apparatus, vision, hearing, communication styles, reproduction (eggs) and structural support are all discussed. Then we are introduced to special talents such as echolocation, migration and speed which some animals exhibit.

One might exclaim “Wow! All this for elementary age readers?” The fact is that this book is a wonderful introduction which will draw the young reader into a deeper consideration of the topics as time goes on. For now, each topic has amazing illustrations and only a small amount of user friendly text. Highly recommended.

Guide to Animals

December 2014

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