978-1-4109-5240-0. ea vol: 32p. (Animal Abilities Series). diag. further reading. glossary. index. map. photos. websites. Raintree. 2013. lib. ed. $29; pap. $7.99.
Gr 3–5—The animals featured in this series don't just have abilities: they have superpowers. For example, orcas use their tails to zoom at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour. Rats use their tails to balance along rooftops. And octopuses have nifty color-changing skills. Readers are invited to imagine how they would use these abilities. The texts move along at a fast clip, dispensing all sorts of interesting facts, such as that elephants and orcas form matriarchal societies, and scientists think some dogs can count from one to five. The facts are backed up with explanations of how scientists find out their information. For example, researchers used magnets to discover that magnetite in bats' bodies works with the Earth's magnetic field to guide them. A few words will be a challenge for the intended audience ("barbastelle bats," "pheromones," "echolocation," etc.). Captioned photos, diagrams, text boxes, and charts help to keep the texts engaging. Solid choices for beginning researchers.

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