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Lydia Bailey
Illustrated by Olena Kassian
Toronto, Scholastic Canada, 1994. 24pp, paper, $4.95
ISBN 0-590-73064-9. (Vanishing Animals of the World). CIP

Grades 2-4 / Ages 9-11

Reviewed by Peter Croskery

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Vanishing Animals of the Mountains is the fourth book in Scholastic Canada's "Vanishing Animals of the World" series. Very short and highly visual with full-page colour illustrations "flowing" over onto the facing page, it will appeal to some young beginning readers.

The species covered in the book include the kakapo, markhor, giant panda, chinchilla, wild yak, California condor, mountain lion, snow leopard, golden toad, grizzly bear, and Barbary lion. While this is an interesting collection of "critters," the book lacks a sense of order. Why were these species selected and not some others?

Within the text, the book attempts to focus on an interesting (or cute) aspect of each animal. The text does not tell the reader why the species has declined or outline a path for recovery. Nor does the book even make reference to where these animals might be located; they are simply animals "of the mountains."

The value of this book lies in its short, simple text, making it suitable for beginning readers. As a document on endangered species, its lack of the "how" and "why" of endangerment is a major limitation.

Peter Croskery is a biologist, freelance writer and instructor in Grimsby, Ontario, specializing in environmental issues.

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