Hand: Exploring the animal kindgom
By Luci Hand Reasons to Read February 21, 2014 1:48PM
Updated: February 23, 2014 2:07AM
Have you thought about weasels? Not the two-legged kind, but the four-legged kind.
Why has their name been given to nasty people? Are they nasty animals? Unfortunately, “Weasels” by Elys Dolan does not answer that question.
Subtitled “Megalomania has never been so furry!!!!” we learn what normal weasels do.
For instance, they eat nuts and berries, frolic in the leaves, etc. But our weasels are not “normal” — they plot world domination.
We join them in a situation room with maps and lots of electronics. And, today is The Big One, the day they take over the world.
Look carefully at this picture and you will see the white (ermine?) weasel tangle up a big power cord. The next two pages are literally in the dark.
We watch as they struggle to get the technical difficulties fixed.
Meanwhile, our little miscreant discovers his error and he plugs the machine back in.
We then go into the countdown and we leave our hardy band in Weaseltopia, all in great places.
Watch for great puns and silly stuff like Starweasels Coffee.
With the cold weather we have had, I hesitate to bring you “North” by Nick Dowson. Sub-titled “The Amazing Story Of Arctic Migration,” this beautifully illustrated (by Patrick Benson) volume tells us that polar bears and arctic fox and a few others winter in the icy cold land.
When spring comes, the polar cap tundra blooms and many species from land, sea and air come to feed and bear their young.
One of the first to set out is the grey whale from Mexico. Terns come from Antarctica, feeding as they fly.
I learned that birds from New Zealand join geese and cranes. Caribou are followed by wolves. The magical narwhal whale joins the parade.
As summer wanes, the reverse migration begins leaving the hardy year-rounders to the cold.
We’ve all heard of evolution and creationism but “Big Turtle” by David McLimans brings us a beautiful Native American legend of the being of the world.
In the beginning there were two peoples, the Sky World people and the Water World people, and they did not mix.
Then Sky Girl goes on a walk and falls to the water. She is saved by two swans that form a “boat” and take her to see Big Turtle, the wise man of the animals.
He calls several swimmer/diver animals and tells them that there is special soil at the bottom of the water and if they can get some, he can make an island on his back for Sky Girl to live on.
We watch as the animals compete to bring back the soil and Toad — the smallest and weakest — wins, but dies in the attempt.
Others spread the soil around Turtle’s back and form an island. All over this island, the things of the land grow, making a home for Sky Girl.
To this day, Turtle carries the world on his back and when he gets tired and stretches, we know by the earthquake.