sorting rats and cats

Who knew taxonomy could be so entertaining? But that’s the magic of today’s three treats…

…starting with a caboodle of cats:

i am a cat cover image

I Am a Cat, written and illustrated by Galia Bernstein
published in 2017 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Plump and soft, padding onto center stage, Simon introduces himself with confidence. “I am a cat,” he says, green eyes gleaming.

i am a cat illustration by Galia Bernstein

He is met, however, with a volley of guffaws! And told in no uncertain terms exactly what he lacks in cat-ness by Lion, Cheetah, Puma, Panther, and Tiger.

i am a cat interior by Bernstein

At the end of the day, though, Simon reels off a list of Essential Cat Qualities that has these big guys flummoxed. Apparently he is a part of the grand cat family!

i am a cat interior2 by Bernstein

Delightful text, stylish illustrations, and enchanting compositions. Perfect to share with curious little ones ages 18 months and up.

a mammal is an animal cover image

A Mammal Is an Animal, written and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
published in 2017 by Holiday House

What makes something a mammal? Find out through the clever questions and reasonings in this friendly book.

a mammal is an animal illustration detail by Rockwell

Discover the special traits of mammals as we sort out the kingdom of animals. Mammals have some body parts that are hard, so that eliminates creatures like earthworms.  They breathe air into their lungs, so that disqualifies all those fish.

a mammal is an animal interior2 by Rockwell

Simple explanations, yet no talking down to children, characterize Rockwell’s text, along with colorful, appealing illustrations.

a mammal is an animal interior by Rockwell

Wrap things up with a peek at some mammals that fit awkwardly into their class, a few extra mammal facts, and a beautiful taxonomy chart that helps us see where these other fellas we’ve been talking about fit into the whole scheme of living things. Excellent food for growing minds, ages 4 and up.

rodent rascals cover image

Rodent Rascals, written and illustrated by Roxie Munro
published in 2018 by Holiday House

Finally, this riveting catalogue of one particular order of mammals, the rodent family.

rodent rascals interior by Munro

They range in size from the smallest-of-allest, the pygmy jerboa, a wee desert dweller who can leap fabulous lengths, to the bulkiest beastie, the capybara, weighing in at up to 150 pounds.

rodent rascals illustration detail by Roxie Munro

Munro manages to draw 21 of these guys for us, at life size. For some, their great girth means that not all of them actually fits on any one page, mind you! The layouts are oh-so-clever. Just a brief tease of information accompanies each one, where you’ll find out tantalizing trivia such as that the naked mole rat’s lips are behind his teeth! Which seals off his mouth from the dirt as he expertly excavates his tunnels.

rodent rascals interior2 by Munro

A bit more info on each of these fascinating creatures is added to the back, and Munro’s lengthy introduction is jam-packed with cool rodent info as well, so don’t skip it! This is just the kind of book my son would have gobbled up as a young boy. Brilliant, enticing us to keep on being curious about a worldful of wonders, for ages 6 and up.