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And So They Build
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Gr. 3-5. In an intriguing thematic approach, noted illustrator Kitchen--Animal Alphabet (1984); Animal Numbers (1987)--examines 12 different animal builders and the design purposes behind each of their unique constructions. From satin bowerbirds to swallows, from cubiterme termites to harvest mice, the animals profiled vary from the exotic to the familiar. With each animal, Kitchen provides an information-laden paragraph or two about the animal's lifestyle and building activities on the left-hand page and an exquisitely detailed portrait of the animal and its construction within a natural landscape on the right-hand page (although the tiny termites are not readily visible in the painting of their large, umbrella-shaped nests). While it is disappointing that Kitchen fails to include either resource notes or a bibliography of suggested titles for further reading, this handsome picture book for older readers provides a fascinating glimpse of some of the architectural wonders to be found within the animal world and will be a welcome addition to most natural-history collections. Annie Ayres --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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They build ingenious structures--umbrella-roofed houses, self-heating mound-homes and bowers painted in tasteful blueberry-blue. But these designers are untutored: they include the cubiterme termite, the harvest mouse, the swallow and the fastidious ``bowl-and-doily'' spider. Kitchen ( Animal Alphabet ) records a dozen startlingly distinctive building traditions in elegant spreads, with explanatory prose facing his characteristically luxuriant and precise watercolor-and-gouache paintings. Beautiful and scientifically accurate, the illustrations will lure even the slightly curious. The text, ever accessible, explains not only what these creatures build, but why: to protect their eggs, to trap their food, to shelter their young, etc. While Kitchen's book takes a more elementary approach than, for example, Bruce Brooks's Nature by Design , even adult artists and engineers will be inspired by the creativity and diversity of his subjects. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)

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