BOOKS: Lifetimes

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:

by David Rice,
illustrated by Michael Mayda
Dawn Publications (14618 Tyler Foote Road,
Nevada City, CA 95959), 1997.
32 pages, $7.95 paperback or $16.95 hardcover.
Teaching guide available: 1-800-545-7475.

The theme is deceptively simple: David Rice
tells young readers how long a variety of plants and
animals live, ranging from bacteria to banyan trees,
working his way from mayflies, who live just a day, to
the age of the earth itself. Each discussion of lifespan
includes the essentials about the entity in question.

Michael Mayda illustrates each page with uncommon
dynamism: even without the text, this book would
inform and command attention. A kibbitzing chimpanzee
at the bottom of each page asks questions, suggests
experiments and further research, and is in effect
the teacher. A retired elementary and special education
teacher, Rice avoids monkey-see-monkey-do. Just
when you think you know what’s coming, he’ll throw
a curve: “A lifetime for a dinosaur is…never again!”
You’ll find no cliches here, either visual or written,
quite a rarity in children’s literature. What you will get
is a surprisingly thorough education in natural history.

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