Open Wide!

A Look Inside Animal Mouths
978-0-9832014-3-4. ea vol: 32p. photos. index. CIP. EarlyLight Bks. 2012. Tr $14.95; ebook $9.99. LC number unavailable.
K-Gr 2—Through full-color photos of animals with mouths wide open or perched on or peeking out of their homes, Ham provides young readers with an unusual look at various creatures. Both titles feature a different animal on each page, with basic information presented in verses set in color-blocked text boxes. Sometimes rhythmic and rhyming, the poems describe a simple characteristic about the animal: "This predator fish/Picks no special dish/Though he thinks/Crab and lobster/Are really quite delish" ("Grouper Mouths"). Other times the verse struggles to relay information ("If you happen to meet/This chap on the street/There's no need to panic/No need to get frantic…/You won't be his treat/Plants are all that he'll eat" ("Hippo Mouths"). The colorful pages and large fonts will appeal to the targeted audience, although some of the vocabulary may extend beyond readers' understanding: "In their maze of tunnels/They have pantries to store food/The females burrow out a den/To raise their furry brood" ("Mole Homes"). Likely to appeal to young readers thanks to the pictures and simple layout, these titles are attractive but additional purchases.—Cathie Bashaw Morton, Millbrook Central School District, NY
Short rhyming poems chock-full of relevant information explore the mouths and homes of several kinds of animals. Crisp photographs of various dwellings and wide-open mouths illustrate the features and add interest; the design is uncluttered and balanced. Some of the poems are more adorable than educational, but not enough to detract from the overall effectiveness of these titles. Ind. Review covers these titles: Open Wide! and Step Inside!.

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