Herds of musk oxen roam the treeless tundra of the Far North. Following closely are wolves, predators looking for a meal. The wolves are no match for the powerful adult musk oxen with their helmet-like horns. When the herd is threatened, the adults form a circle around their young to protect them. Musk oxen, with their long, thick hair, are built to survive the harsh arctic winters. But the wolves still watch the herd for a calf that cant keep up or an old musk ox too weak to survive.
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Sandra Markle is the author of numerous award-winning books for children. A former elementary science teacher, she is a nationally-known science education consultant.
Markle has received many honors for her series Animal Predators, Animal Scavengers, and Animal Prey. Several titles have been named as National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)/Childrens Book Council (CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, and Animal Predators was honored as a Top 10 Youth Nonfiction Series by Booklist.
Markle is also the author of the Insect World series and several single titles. Her book Rescues! was named a Best Book by the Society of School Librarians International and a Recommended Title of Outstanding Nonfiction by the National Council of Teachers of Englishs (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award committee; Animal Heroes was named a 2008 Lasting Connections title by Book Links.
Markle lives in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with her husband, photographer Skip Jeffery.
Kindergarten-Grade 4—Markle knows how to find just the right balance of facts for her intended audience and has selected stunning, full-color photographs to complement her texts. The focus of these books is on how the animals deal with predators. Musk Oxen is the only one in which they are actually being eaten, though there are no gory illustrations. Their defenses include the circling herd protection and wicked horns. Even still, a pack of wolves can cull out a young or weak herd member and concentrate their efforts. More emphasis here is on the bulls fighting bulls for dominance and mating rights. In Octopuses, readers are shown how an animal can be both predator and prey. The octopus can hide in "plain sight," squirt ink, paralyze with saliva, or forfeit a tentacle to escape predators in the sea. In the third book, readers are immediately drawn in by the opening shot of a lion towering over two nonchalant Old World porcupines. The animals' food, habitats, mating, and mothering habits are portrayed, but the essence of the text is in its descriptions of their escape from danger and use of their quills. Each book has a motivating "Looking Back" section in which children are challenged to reexamine a photograph on a certain page to find still another feature that the animal has for adaptation. These books offer an outstanding combination of fascinating texts and informative, appealing photos.—Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
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