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GET OUT ON THE NIGHT

Usborne's "Beginner's Series" includes a new release called NIGHT ANIMALS (ISBN978079451656-7), by Susan Meredith, for ages five and up. This is a very informative book for both kids and the adults who read with them, as it features not only the better-known animals of the night (such as bats and wolves) but also such lesser-know types as aardvarks and tarsiers. Moreover, the book explains, in straightforward language, why the animals within its pages prefer to be up and about when the rest of us are sound asleep.

Hippos, for instance, come out at night because it is cooler. Given their size, that makes perfect sense. Slugs are minuscule by comparison, but they too prefer night, because the sun would dry them up very quickly. Some animals have specific features that make them not only more comfortable at night but truly able to rule it! The famous flashing light that the firefly uses to send messages, for example, would not even be visible during the day. And the large, bulging eyes of the tarsier, which enable it to see (and hence to hunt) so well in the dark, would only be blinded by the light of the sun. Other animals, this book explains, have eyes that work best at night but can adjust to the daytime sun as well, like geckos and frogs, which can narrow their eyes to thin slits.

NIGHT ANIMALS, which features 30 pages of fun facts and wonderful illustrations and photographs of more than 30 animals, ends with a glossary (explaining relevant terms like "nocturnal" and "burrow"), a list of night animal websites, and an index. Young readers are sure to finish this book feeling confident of their handle on the subject matter and eager to learn more about the natural world through other books in the series (which can be viewed at www.edcpub.com). NIGHT ANIMALS is priced at $4.99.


NIGHT ANIMALS is reviewed by Joan Schweighardt, the author of GUDRUN'S TAPESTRY and other novels. Over the years Joan has counted among her closest friends Zelma, Cleo, and Speedy-Clark (all felines) and Heidi, Barnaby, Dirty Ben, Auggie Doggie and Smart Sartre (all canines). Currently Joan counts herself lucky to share her life and home with Nikki, a Belgian Shepherd who survived a near-death experience more than a year ago. Having been nursed back to life with drops of water from a turkey-baster and thereafter minuscule pieces of prime rib, Nikki is now the most spoiled 14-year-old dog on the planet.

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