Amazing Animal Athletes

2235_cv3Title: AND THE WINNER IS… Amazing Animal Athletes

Author: Etta Kaner

Illustrator: David Anderson

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Reviewer: Yolanda Ridge

Genre: Science, Nature

Lexile Score: IG550 (ages 4-8)

Get ready for the World Animal Games hosted by Walrus and Cockatoo! “And the Winner Is…” gives readers a fun and fantastic opportunity to learn about the super power of animals. And it turns out that animals really are amazing athletes – especially in comparison to humans!

The events are high jump, sprinting, weight lifting, swimming, long jump, aerobatics, and the marathon. In each category there are four competitors.  Readers are asked to predict who will win and the results are often surprising!

The lay out of each spread invites readers to pick and choose between small pieces of text according to their reading level. With commentary at the top by Walrus and Cockatoo, game cards for each competitor that give stats on the creature’s class, home, habitat, and food preferences, and witty banter between the athletes and the crowd, there really is something of interest to every reader.

One spread introduces the competitor and the next spread declares the winner.  This is followed by a comparison of how the winning result compares to the average human.  The flea, for example, wins the high jump contest by leaping 150 times it’s own height.  The human high jump record, in comparison, is less than two times the jumpers height.  And the delightful and humbling fact is that the human doesn’t come close to winning in any of these categories.

Author Etta Kaner makes use of every opportunity to provide additional information about the animals and their amazing abilities without ever making it feel forced. As an illustrated guide, “And the Winner Is…” is perfectly suited to the early grades but will also find appeal among younger and older students (and even adults!)