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The nonfiction books in the African Animals series (eight in total) tell where the animal is from (Zebras live in Africa) and what they eat (They graze on grass growing on the savanna). The author describes their appearance (Zebras look like a striped horse/Even a zebraís mane has stripes) and diet (A zebraís sharp teeth snip tall grasses. Zebras graze all day). Facts about the animalís social behavior when hunting, sleeping, or traveling are found in these easy books as well.

Each book ends with six to eight words that are defined in the glossary (i.e. danger, herd, mane), a small bibliography that includes animal books (some are from 2003) and a website called Fact Hound, and a small index. A list of PhD consultants appear under the authorís name on the title page. A labelled map of the continents highlights Africa in yellow; a bigger map of Africa indicates where the animals live in that continent. There is some repetition in the vocabulary within each book and the series, and the sentences are short. This will help grade one students who are learning to read.

The animals are photographed in their natural habitat, both in the morning and at night. Predators are shown, but the pictures are not scary or violent, with the exception being in the Lions book. There is a dead zebra lying on the grass and you can see blood and bone. In the Cheetahs book, there is mention of people harming cheetahs and how they are protected by living in parks. Many of the animals shown are turned toward the camera. Close-ups capture detail in the fur and eyes. When the young are shown, they are interacting with their parents.

These books could be read aloud as part of a wild animal preschool storytime.

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  Steven Rosen/2013 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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