Hoot and Howl Across the Desert

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When most people think of deserts, they think of dry, barren, fire-hot places where nothing can live. But that’s just not so, and the new picture book, Hoot and Howl Across the Desert, by Vassiliki Tzomaka, is proof of this fact.

In this detailed book, young readers learn about all the birds and animals that live in deserts. There are Anna’s hummingbirds, which live in the Sonoran Desert; and antelope jackrabbits, bighorn sheep, clouded yellow butterflies, and even the roadrunner, that all live in the Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts.

Bats, pumas, kangaroo rats and porcupines live in the desert; gray foxes, mountain cats, armadillos and condors live in the desert, too. In fact, this amazing book lists page after page of animals that live and thrive in some of the most intense conditions ever.

Children and parents alike get a lesson in just what a desert is, and how the roots of trees, cactus and flowers draw nourishment from the rain. There is information on venomous animals, slithery desert snakes, and safe havens, like the Gobi Desert. There is also a long and detailed lesson on the many deserts on Planet Earth, from the more obscure Atacama Desert and Patagonian Desert, and the better known Sahara, Arabian, and Gobi deserts.

Author/illustrator Vassiliki Tzomaka’s prose is age appropriate for middle graders, and there are dozens of vibrant illustrations to satisfy children’s curiosity. In addition to the detailed Table of Content at the beginning of the book, there is a bonus section in the back that includes example of desert folk art (Intuit patterns, African patterns, and Aboriginal patterns). There’s also a glossary and a detailed index to make finding your favorite desert animals more convenient.

If there ever was an “everything” book, this desert animal picture book is the one. Use it in a middle grade classroom, in an art classroom, or for independent reading.

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