On the heels of their highly successful and informative books, The Truth About Nature and The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book, authors Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer are back with another delightful and fact-filled book that illuminates nature, The Secret Lives of Animals: 1,001 Tidbits, Oddities & Amazing Facts about North America’s Coolest Animals. Also returning for the third book is talented illustrator Rachel Riordan.
Like their other titles, The Secret Lives of Animals is colorful, easy to use, and appealing from start to finish. Animals are helpfully grouped by category, and each gets its moment in the sun, with illustrations, details and little-known facts.
Kids who are curious about animals will learn a lot about their favorites, as well as some creatures they’ve never heard of. Those who want to get outside to experience animals directly will find plenty of ideas. There is also terrific general science information to help explain concepts like migrations, taxonomies, the continental shelf, anadromous fish (I had never heard that term either), metamorphosis, keystone species, and how to tell a horn from an antler.
Inspired by the book, my family and I returned to some of our favorite activities, like crabbing, tidepooling, and making a bird feeder to attract and feed and local birds. We also took a walk to identify squirrel nests, looked at a spider web with a magnifying glass, and listened for animal sounds at night.
In addition, we learned a lot of fun facts about our animal friends and devised a quiz based on the tidbits in the book. See how well you do! (answers below.)
Secret Lives of Animals Unofficial Quiz
- How do prairie dogs help their local grass?
- Are caribou and reindeer the same species?
- Do sockeye salmon change color after they spawn?
- What are baby mice sometimes called?
- Which animal dates back more than 300 million years and had a wingspan of up to 2 feet?
- Can you tell how old a rattlesnake is by counting the number of rattles?
- The Giant Pacific species of what animal weighs more than 600 pounds?
- How many species of fly are there?
- Can a sponge grow to be bigger than a human?
- What animal did Benjamin Franklin propose as America’s national bird, rather than the Bald Eagle?
- They keep it trimmed.
- Giant Octopus.
If you enjoyed playing along, you will enjoy The Secret Lives of Animals! I have one copy to give away. To enter, leave a comment below, listing either your favorite animal or one you want to learn more about. I’ll choose a winner using a random generator by Midnight, PST, Weds, Nov. 4. The winner will be notified by email.