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Wild tracks! : a guide to nature's footprints
Book
2008
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

With this book's large format and simple organizational structure, Arnosky's latest trek into the world of North American wildlife makes a terrific beginning field guide. Tracks are separated into categories (bear, deer, cat, and so on), each presented in a two-page spread. On the left, a full-color painting displays an animal, and its tracks, in its natural habitat. On the right, information about the tracks, and how to read them, appears as pencil-sketch reproductions from Arnosky's own notebook. Subsequent pages follow each category with paintings of life-size prints, with some pages folding out to accommodate the biggest. Arnosky supplements the track identification information with fascinating related material in notebook-style entries. Although the treatment of each category varies some, noting everything from length of stride to footprint changes in different seasons, the uniformly lovely illustrations and the compelling concept make this a book that young naturalists will enjoy year-round.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2008 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Both picture book and field guide, Arnosky's 100th book shows how the shape and pattern of animal tracks reveal the identity and activity of the track maker. Clear, accurate drawings of tracks and trails pair with full-page paintings of North American animals from anhinga and white-tailed deer to cottonmouth moccasin and white ibises. He includes both large wild animals--bear and American buffalo--and small creatures whose tracks might be found in a back yard--cats, dogs, rabbits and mice. Four foldout pages show tracks of animal families--deer, other hoofed animals, felines and canines--life-size for easy comparison. A few paragraphs of gentle text introduce each family, pointing out identifying details, comparing them and adding information about the pattern of their tracks. Both attractive and informative, this is a splendid example of Arnosky's skill at making natural history come alive for young readers and listeners as well as their parents. This slim, though oversize, package will spur aspiring nature detectives to do some tracking of their own. (table of contents) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
When children learn to recognize and read animal tracks they're actually mastering an ancient language of shapes and patterns--and gaining knowledge of the natural world. Acclaimed artist and naturalist Jim Arnosky has created a breathtaking and informative reference on the subject, filled with intricately drawn prints from creatures both wild and domestic, as well as large-scale paintings of the animals in their environment. Some of the art, labeled in Arnosky's own handwriting, even looks as if it came straight out of his personal notebooks. And best of all, many of the tracks are true to size, so kids can compare the trace left by a big-footed polar bear (whose paws act as snowshoes in its icy home) with that of a small bird. Adding to the eye-catching illustrations are four awesome gatefolds that display paintings of a bobcat, wolf, deer, and a variety of hoofed animals right next to their prints. Every spread has plenty of details on how to interpret the footprint, and the featured menagerie includes bighorn sheep and goats, chipmunks and rabbits, grizzlies and brown bears, horses and burros, domestic cats and dogs, and even slithering reptiles! This is the perfect gift for a budding naturalist, animal lover, or artist.<br> Jim Arnosky has been honored for his overall contribution to literature for children by the Eva L. Gordon Award and the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for nonfiction. Many of his books have been chosen as ALA Notable Books, including Drawing from Nature, a Christopher Award-winner. Wild Tracks! is Jim's 100th book for children.
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