Animal Facts By the Numbers
Clarion Books, 2022
40pp., hbk. RRP $A29.99
Animals live almost anywhere on the planet from deserts to mountains, oceans to ice caps. To exist in such a diversity of conditions they have had to adapt and develop a range of shapes, sizes, colouring and abilities.
This book compares a range of creatures for attributes such as size, speed, sleep, protective devices, even the number of eyes, using infographics to present the information. And, therein, lies perhaps its greatest strength for the school library collection. Using its charts and diagrams as a model to demonstrate how students can share information visually so that it is readily accessible to readers of all abilities, is a powerful tool which is becoming much more common than pages and pages of text in boring “research reports”. If our goal is to engage the audience with the information we have discovered and the new knowledge we have constructed with it, then, in this screen-oriented world, visual presentations are essential. Not only do they still require the same amount of research, but they also require the analysis and synthesis of that information into a new format so that the task becomes more than a copy-and-paste exercise. If, as in this case, the research also has that higher order thinking element of “compare and contrast” then our young researchers can combine and collaborate in investigating those things that interest them and then present their joint findings so there are social as well as academic gains.
So while this may seem like yet another book about animals and their differences, it has a unique place in our pedagogy toolbox that is worth having.