Sunday, January 18, 2009

Review: Little Skink's Tail

Author: Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by: Laurie Allen Klein
Genre: Children's Picture Book; Nature
Rating: 5/5
Grade: A = All ages
Thank you to the author, Janet Halfmann, for contacting me and requesting this book for me to review. And also to Sara Dobie with Sylvan Dell Publishing for sending me the book.

Little Skink is sunning herself on a rock when she is suddenly attacked by a large crow. She gets away with her life, but loses her tail. As she looks at all of the animals around her, she imagines what it would be like to have tails like theirs. But none of the other tails seem to fit. One is, "so short and stubby", another, "Too stickly-prickly" a third, "Too pointy". How will Skink fix her problem, and find the perfect tail?

The text in this book is really wonderful. Short and to the point, great for young readers and listeners, but also containing well chosen descriptive words. The story is very fun--engaging the imagination, educating, and entertaining.

The watercolor illustrations have a textured and natural look. The animals are realistically drawn, but with humanising touches in facial expression and eyes. Wonderful little details can be found throughout the book. The first time I read the book, I didn't even notice some of them: such as the little caterpillar which grows a cocoon, emerges from it, and can be seen as a beautiful butterfly by the end of the book; also, the animal which will have it's tail tried on next can be seen hiding somewhere on the page before it's turn.

This book not only teaches about animals, and their physiology, but has a great lesson to be learned about being happy and comfortable with who you are. Further extending the fun learning opportunities is the 'For Creative Minds' section in the back of the book, where there is a footprint map, and a tail matching activity. Both which were thoroughly enjoyed by my three year old.

Sylvan Dell Publishing describes its books as "science and math through literature". A worthy goal, which they have managed to accomplish very well. The Sylvan Dell website has some great information and further activities and resources to go along with each book, such as quizzes and teaching activities. I will definitely keep my eyes out for more books by this publisher.


cindysloveofbooks January 18, 2009 at 7:17 PM  

What a cute book that is. I will have to look for it.

BookChook January 18, 2009 at 11:27 PM  

I am also impressed with Sylvan Dell, both as reader/reviewer and writer. Their site is excellent. I've also read interviews they have given and been impressed by their passion for literature and dedication to getting it right.

I love the sound of Little Skink's Tail. Thanks for this review, Lisa!

Cheryl Vanatti February 6, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

Just wanted to let you know that I linked to your great review on Reading Rumpus

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