Elephant vs. Rhinoceros

9781484640722. ea vol: 24p. (Animal Rivals). charts. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Heinemann-Raintree. Aug. 2017. lib. ed. $23.32. pap. $6.95.
Gr 3–5—Animal comparisons are explored through imagined battles between two species. Opposing pages compare attributes such as speed, senses, and fighting skills. A few sentences provide key facts on each subject, accompanied by a single photograph highlighting the feature or behavior. A final chart assigns point values to categories with the total determining the likely winner. Information tends toward description rather than statistics. No numbers are provided for speed or size, for example, but in some cases visual or verbal comparisons provide useful context (rhinos can run "as fast as a galloping horse," an emperor scorpion "would reach from your hand to your elbow"). The side-by-side format works well visually, with some especially well-chosen contrasts, such as the scorpion's tail facing the tarantula's fangs, although the facts provided do not always exactly match the page topic (the tarantula's ability to blend in is under "Senses"). Some of the ratings may be debatable, but the focus on contrasting features creates an engaging introduction to each creature.
VERDICT Appealing to browsers and fans of Jerry Pallotta's "Who Would Win" series.

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