Posts tagged ‘snakes’

THE DIRT ON DINGOES

Dingo Facts: Easy Learning For Kids (Amazing Australian Animals)

Written by Sara Woods

DingoFacts,pic

This book is one of the amazing Australian animal series. It will enlighten the reader about what kind of animal a dingo is, where it lives, what it eats, how it moves and breeds, how it is threatened, and why it is important. The book packs a lot of information in thirty-four pages. While the author targets the book as a read aloud for younger children as well as an independent reader for older children, I think it more appropriate for the latter group.

Unfortunately, my travels have not yet taken me to Australian so I am unfamiliar with this animal. Looking at the photos, I immediately thought of a gray wolf and later learned from the author that the dingo is a subspecies of that animal introduced to Australia by seamen about 4,000years ago. I was fascinated to learn that dingoes are double jointed at all their joints, and that they use their paws as we do our hands. They can even open door knobs. Their ears stand straight up and can rotate backwards; they can rotate their heads 180 degrees for better vision. Most dingoes are monogamous and will mate yearly averaging four to six pups for about ten years. The mother will eat, swallow and regurgitate food to feed young much like a bird.

Landowners and hunters are the biggest threat to the dingoes, but crocodiles, snakes, and lack of food and water also factor in their survival. More contact with domestic dogs as urban sprawl progresses could eventually lead to extinction. Farmers who see them as a threat have engineered the world’s largest fence (3,488 miles) to protect sheep and farm lands. But dingoes are special animals because as the only native dog to Australia, they are apex predators at the top of the food chain who protect many smaller mammals and the native natural grasses. Some areas of Australia have set up sanctuaries to protect the dingoes.

This series will eventually include eighteen books about Australian animals. It certainly makes an excellent, well-organized reference source for classrooms in the elementary grades and libraries. Teachers could also use many of these books in science units comparing and contrasting with other animals. Highly recommended for children age seven and up. Adults who read these books to children will find themselves being entertained and informed as well.

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RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE

Riki, Tikki-Tavi

Written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Riki Tiki Tavipic

This is a story taken from The Jungle Book with which many adults are familiar. It involves a young boy named Teddy and his family who rescue a mongoose named Riki Tiki-Tavi. This poor creature has nearly drowned near their bungalow in Segowlee. The mongoose is an animal known for its tenacity, and Riki will prove his worth to the family who has adopted him.

The reader first learns of Riki’s rescue and the reluctance of Teddy’s mother to keep him. Riki proves a friend to the Tailorbird named Darzee who screams that the cobra snake Nag has stolen an egg from their nest. The snake’s wife Nagaina tries to ambush Riki and nearly kills him. More danger befalls him as a smaller snake named Karait attacks him. The family is impressed with Riki’s bravery. The young boy named Teddy brings Riki everywhere. At night Riki goes exploring and Chuchundra, the muskrat, tells Riki that the snakes plan to kill the humans so that they will have the garden to themselves again. It will be up to the fearless mongoose to protect the family and marshal all the animals of the garden together to defeat these nefarious snakes. Will Riki be successful in rallying this disparate group to protect the family and their habitat?

The digital edition was produced by Gere Donovan Press in 2012. It is also available in hardcover and print, which I would recommend to the fact that it includes the award winning illustrations of Pinkney. The Jungle Book is now in the public domain. In this edition the original language has been simplified, and I believe that children aged eight and up will not find it too difficult. Of course this does mean that some of the beauty of the Kipling’s writing is sacrificed. The lessons of fearlessness, loyalty and devotion to family as well as the local culture that the story imparts remain treasures to be shared by future generations. Adults should note that Kipling does display some violence in his descriptions.

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