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Clever Creatures: How Animals and Plants Use Science To Survive

DK. Jun. 2020. 72p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781465493040.
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Gr 3-5–If readers can look past the introduction which attributes intent and agency to animals (“Just like humans, animals have solved a lot of difficult engineering problems...”) and classifies animals as scientists, then readers will learn a great deal about how animals have adapted to their environments and have evolved over time. The book is divided into sections that present animals as physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, and mathematicians. For example, the section on physicists explains how a peacock mantis shrimp stores energy which enables it to pack a “mega punch.” A sequenced series of illustrations shows how this is done, and a sidebar explains how other living things also use stored elastic energy. Each section of the book ends by highlighting human inventions that are based on animal adaptations. The section on engineers shows how solar panels, which turn sunlight into electrical energy, track sunlight by turning in a way that resembles how the leaves of a cotton plant bend towards the light. The varied page designs and interesting text clearly present the information.
VERDICT This is a good look at animal adaptation, but the suggestion that readers see animals as scientists would require discussion.

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