Now that my oldest is eight and reading full-on chapter books, it’s hard to find a kids’ book that will captivate her, her first-grade sister, and younger cousins who come to visit too. But that’s just what author Lola M. Schaefer manages to do in this beautifully captivating new children’s book about animals, and new ways to look at their lives.
LIFETIME: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives works as an engaging teaching tool on so many levels. Each spread describes statistics about one of 11 animals in interesting numbers, like in one lifetime, this alpaca will grow 20 different fleeces; or in one lifetime, this giant swallowtail will visit 900 flowers. And that’s just a jumping-off point for great parent-child interaction.
Little kids can simply identify the animals, or they can count the pileated woodpecker’s holes or the bottleneck dolphin’s teeth presented in Christopher Silas Neal’s beautiful illustrations. Early readers can read aloud themselves with your help and ask more about the concepts. And for older kids, like my daughter, the back of the book is packed with more info about the animals–which I love in part because they’re cross spiders and mountain caribous, not cats and dogs.
The author explains just how the numbers were devised, based on averages of adult lifespan. And that leads to great talk about what averages are in the first place, why we need them, and how we figure them out.
It’s a great way to get kids excited about the idea of math not as “numbers” but as a concept of fun patterns. Or as Lola writes, “Math gives you answers you can’t find any other way.” What kid isn’t excited about finding answers? Let alone answers about cool animals. -Liz
Find LIFETIME: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives at our affiliate Amazon, or your local independent bookseller.