Animal Tracks and Traces

Arbordale. Mar. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781643517476.
Gr 1-4–This introduction to animal signs features varied examples of tracks, traces, and the creatures that leave them. Two-page spreads include one large photo with an inset image that connects the animal to its sign. A view of a black bear rubbing a tree, for example, is paired with a close-up of the claw tracks it may have left. In some cases, it’s the animal figure in the inset, with evidence of its presence, such as deer scat, as the large scale photograph. Photos are not captioned, though most, but not all animals are identified within the text. Descriptions provide basic background about animal features and behaviors as they relate to tracks. In some cases, the reader is challenged to identify what the signs reveal. Language is direct and accessible, though the sentences don’t always flow smoothly. Four useful pages of back matter offer visual matching challenges and add further examples of tracks and signs. While Jim Arnosky’s Wild Tracks! is more visually engaging and Andy Seed’s The Clue Is in the Poop features more activities for readers, this title works as an engaging introduction to identifying animal traces.
VERDICT Solid topic choice with visual appeal.

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