Reviews for Step Inside! : A Look Inside Animal Homes

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
There are no bricks or shingles used to build the homes featured in this title. Instead, animals set up camp in a variety of ways, and in rhyming poems and vibrant, close-up photographs, this picture book introduces a multitude of animal habitats, from subterranean abodes to treetop nests. The rhymes don't always scan: "Warthogs love a mudbath / It keeps them cool and clean / They'll let a mongoose pick off ticks . . . / A useful mobile canteen!" Still, the information is accessibly presented, and headlines on each page will lead young readers into the text with clues to featured animals, such as "Treehugger" (frog) and "Log Cabin" (yup, beavers), although some phrases may confuse children; "Cat on a Hot Thin Roof," for example, refers to a poem about termites. There are lots of homes to explore here, and interested kids may be hooked enough to burrow deeper. Pair this with Irene Kelly's Even an Octopus Needs a Home (2011). Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

K-Gr 2--Through full-color photos of animals with mouths wide open or perched on or peeking out of their homes, Ham provides young readers with an unusual look at various creatures. Both titles feature a different animal on each page, with basic information presented in verses set in color-blocked text boxes. Sometimes rhythmic and rhyming, the poems describe a simple characteristic about the animal: "This predator fish/Picks no special dish/Though he thinks/Crab and lobster/Are really quite delish" ("Grouper Mouths"). Other times the verse struggles to relay information ("If you happen to meet/This chap on the street/There's no need to panic/No need to get frantic…/You won't be his treat/Plants are all that he'll eat" ("Hippo Mouths"). The colorful pages and large fonts will appeal to the targeted audience, although some of the vocabulary may extend beyond readers' understanding: "In their maze of tunnels/They have pantries to store food/The females burrow out a den/To raise their furry brood" ("Mole Homes"). Likely to appeal to young readers thanks to the pictures and simple layout, these titles are attractive but additional purchases.--Cathie Bashaw Morton, Millbrook Central School District, NY

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