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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Discover more about the special challenges faced by albino animals that exist in virtually every species on Earth. Vivid photography of unusual albino animals gives this book strong appeal.
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Grade 4-6–Halls's curiosity and awe of albino animals is evident in her writing as she tracks down incidents of this genetic wonder around the world and across species. After overcoming the incredible odds against inheriting the recessive gene for albinism from both parents, these unique creatures begin life having already used up the greater part of their luck. Their striking white appearance leaves them exposed to the sharp eyes of predators, and the lack of melanin in their skin makes them particularly vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun. The author's discussion consists mainly of a reiteration of these two dangers for each new animal she introduces, resulting in somewhat tedious repetition. The stories rarely have happy endings. The striking cover photo of an albino mouse is likely to draw in curious animal lovers, but the rodent's bulging red eyes provide a clue that this is not a cute, snuggly book. The effect of a white animal on a white background may be appealing on the cover, but the internal photographs become washed out and at times leave their subjects looking more freakish than they truly are. Still, this is an acceptable addition for libraries seeking to satisfy a demand for information on this intriguing topic.–Jenna Miller, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
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Gr. 3-7. Piercing, ruby-red mouse eyes peer out from the stark, white cover of this introduction to albino creatures. In chapters grouped by animal category (reptiles and amphibians, sea mammals, and so on), the lively text cites real-life examples of albino animals and discusses the special concerns that albinism raises in each species. Halls' text is clear and straightforward, but younger children may still have trouble grasping the complicated genetic concepts. The sharp, close-up images of startling, snow-white species will attract a wide range of browsers, though, as will the bizarre anecdotes: Miss Vicki, an albino pug, wears "doggles" to protect her sensitive eyes from sunlight. A final chapter about human albinism echoes Halls' message: all instances of albinism are "beautiful examples of nature's diversity." The wild facts and eye-popping visuals will encourage children to learn more about the underlying basic science. A glossary and a bibliography close this substantive picture book for older readers. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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