Scorpions! illus. by Meryl Henderson. 32p. (Strange and Wonderful Series). diag. further reading. map. websites. Boyds Mills. Oct. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-473-0. LC 2013931088.
Gr 5–7—Pringle's careful research and Henderson's painterly eye are clearly in evidence as they explore the world of scorpions. Ancient dwellers on Planet Earth, armed with often-formidable pincer-claws and tails tipped with a venomous sting, these rather unlovely and unwelcome arachnids have adapted to habitats ranging from arid deserts to tropical rain forests, all the while evolving in size and shape and habits to meet the dangers of environments and predators. Pringle does an excellent job of describing the "average" scorpion and deftly goes on to present its eating habits (no chewing, mostly slurping), courtship (daringly risky for the usually smaller males), reproduction (females give birth to live young), and predators (often larger scorpions-cannibalism seems to run in the family). The colorful paintings faithfully depict the physical makeup of many varieties and are carefully coordinated to match the text. Even libraries that have Pringle's own "golden oldie" Scorpion Man: Exploring the World of Scorpions (Scribner, 1994), an interesting look at scientist Gary Polis and his work, or Sandra Markle's Scorpions: Armored Stingers (Lerner, 2011) should still make room for this handsome, informative work.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Pringle cuts through misconceptions about scorpions with no-nonsense factual information about this arachnid order. Although long a part of human cultural myths and legends, only a few species worldwide--and only one in the United States--are dangerous to people. Scorpion range and habitats, hunting and feeding behaviors, and reproduction are explored, often through comparisons across scorpion species to show both variations and commonalities that define the order. The explanations of scorpion body structures, including the mesmerizing, stinger-tipped tail and sensory cells on legs and hairs, illustrate the particular adaptations that have contributed to this predator's survival over millions of years. Numerous delicate, detailed paintings of scorpions include field guide - like illustrations, often to scale, of single specimens, as well as portrayals of the scorpions in prey-or-be-preyed-upon interactions with other animals. Back matter includes a brief bibliography, websites, sources, and a pronunciation guide. danielle j. ford

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