January 4, 2011

Reptiles: Crocodilians

The library had a surprising number of crocodilian books. We read World Book's Animals of the World: Alligators and Other Crocodilians first. It was a mistake. The book had great pictures and tons of information. Too much information for my children to take in at one time. Although I recommend getting this book, I don't recommend trying to read it all in one sitting. Also, it might be a better choice as a reference book. We liked some of the other books better, but by the time we finished the World Book, we were pretty done with crocs.

On the other hand, the book contained a section titled "How Do Alligators Move on Land?" This section was awesome because it talked about the difference between a "high walk" and a "belly walk." I encouraged my children to demonstrate the difference between the two, which led to ten minutes of hilarity and good times. If you are going to study crocs--please practice high walking and belly walking. It's fun!

Alligators and Crocodiles: Amazing Animals by Angela Royston is an excellent pick for the younger elementary crowd. The information is concise, the pics are excellent, and there is a quiz at the back. I know, not everyone loves a good quiz, but my kids sure do!
In the Wild: Crocodiles by Claire Robinson was another good one for my children's age group. We had read so much about crocs by the time we got to this book that we just looked at the pictures and I reiterated some of the earlier information. Still, a good pick for the younger crowd as the text is pretty minimal compared to the other croc books. (Sorry about the pic--it was the largest one I could find.)
GOLD STAR BOOK!!! I told Becky I would try harder to alert her to the best books, as her library carries almost none of the books I mention. This way, she knows if it is worth her $2.00 interlibrary loan fee. This one is worth it!

Super Croc: Paul Sereno's Dinosaur Eater by Paul Sereno and Natalie Lunis is about the discovery of an ancient, intact, head of a crocodile. The head was six feet long. Crazy. Those of you who know me well have probably heard my anti-dinosaur rants. I think scientists get a little crazy stretching what little they know into the extensive world that is paleontology. I have to admit, though, that this book hooked even me. (No, I don't share my anti-dinosaur feelings with my offspring--I try to avoid passing on my biases to them.) The writing was very accessible for the younger crowd, the pics were great, and my children were mesmerized. They all wanted to go dig for bones immediately. Maybe a trip to the dinosaur museum is in order. Or maybe it is time to buy one of those kits from amazon where you dig out a t-rex skeleton and put it together. Has anyone tried one of those? Are they worth the $20?

Regardless--get the book and read it with your kids. Good times.

I have to admit that I planned on doing a cute little alligator craft with my kiddos, but between the holidays and my laziness, and putting together a new unit, the alligator craft didn't happen. But, I still think it would be a good one. If you interested, you can find it here. Good luck, and let me know if it is worth doing.

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