Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrator:  Christopher Silas Neal 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Chronicle Books, 2013   ISBN: 978-1452107141

The animal kingdom is full of numbers. This may sound strange, but it is true. In this fascinating book the author, who just happens to love math and numbers, looks at some of the numbers that can be found in the lifetimes of eleven very different animal species. She begins by looking at a Cross Spider. This little creature lays one “papery” and very fragile egg sac in her six month long lifespan.

   By contrast, a very large female American Alligator, which usually lives for between thirty and seventy-five years, will build twenty-two nests and will lay five hundred and fifty eggs. Not all the eggs will hatch and not all the babies will survive into adulthood.

   We also learn that the domesticated alpaca, an animal whose fleece is favored by weavers and knitters all over the world, produces twenty fleeces in its twenty to twenty-one year lifespan; one fleece per year. Wild alpacas only grow one fleece, which keeps them warm for the rest of their lives.

   Every spread in this exceptional book focuses on one animal species. Wonderful illustrations accompany the simple text, and children will enjoy practicing their counting skills. Are there really fifty baby kangaroos on the red kangaroo page, and are there one thousand “teeny-weeny, squiggly-wiggly” baby seahorses on the male seahorse page?

   At the back of the book the author provides us with lots of additional information about the eleven species featured in the book. She also explains what an average is and tells us about her fondness for math and how she had to use math to write this book.