Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

I wonder why the Dodo is dead and other questions about extinct and endangered a

I wonder why the Dodo is dead and other questions about extinct and endangered a

Andrew Charman
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Kingfisher, 2007   ISBN: 0753460955

Often children ask the question “What happened to the dinosaurs?” and we tell them that this group of animals went extinct, probably because conditions on Earth changed radically in a short period of time. This was a natural phenomenon and it is normal for one species of animal to be replaced by another, often similar, animal over time. Thus the mammoth died out and the elephant took its place. However there are other animals that have become extinct because humans have killed too many of them, destroyed their habitat, or harmed them in some other way. This book looks at the ways in which man has, and continues, to have a very detrimental affect on numerous animal species.

By asking a series of excellent questions, the author shows his readers how man has brought many species of creatures to the brink of extinction and beyond. The dodo bird, a large flightless bird which was not afraid of the humans who visited its island home, was hunted to extinction. Another reason why some animals are now very rare is because the pet trade takes wild animals away from their homes to sell them to people who like having exotic pets. Both the red-kneed tarantula and various species of chameleon are not endangered because of the pet trade.

Other animals are very rare because humans have taken away or damaged their habitat. Orangutans are extremely rare now because their jungle home is being cut down. Many species of sea turtles are endangered because they get caught in fishing nets and because they eat trash which people throw in their ocean home. Pollution is indeed a very serious problem for many animal species.

Children who like animals will be very interested in the topics covered in this book. It is likely too that they will be very moved by what they read and will want to do their part to save animals from extinction. Thankfully, in the last few pages of the book, the author shows children that there are things that they can do to help animals. In addition, as they read the book, children will come to understand that they can do their part by not causing pollution, by not buying a wild caught exotic pet, and by doing what they can to preserve natural habitats for animals of all kinds.

In addition to the text there are lots of excellent annotated illustrations throughout this title. This is one of the books in the “I wonder why…” series which includes many volumes about animals and the natural world.