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PUBLISHED: 2:43 PM on Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Get the scoop on the not-so-normal

Every morning before school, your mom or dad probably checks the weather so they can make sure you dress to stay comfortable.

You might put on a sweater today or maybe you'll grab something to make you feel cooler.

Imagine what you'd do if you were a polar bear in Alaska or a lizard in the desert or a frog in a freezing forest.

You'll find out about those creatures and more when you read "Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth" by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Neal Layton.

When it gets really chilly outside, you have to put on something to keep your body from getting cold. When it gets too hot, you have to go in a pool or inside where there's air conditioning. But animals don't have that option. I mean, have you ever seen a penguin with a parka?

Because there's life almost everywhere on Earth, animals have adapted to live in their climates. Take polar bears, for example.

They do so well at keeping comfy in sub-zero weather that scientists using heat-sensitive cameras sometimes can't find them.

The bears' body heat is locked in tight by their fur, so the only things scientists see are the parts not covered in fur - the polar bear noses.

Being a bird in cold weather isn't easy, either, so your feathered friends have ways to stay comfortable.

Penguins huddle together just like your favorite football team, and the group constantly shifts to keep the outside birds from freezing. Small birds huddle together and some make pyramids to keep warm.

On the other hand, there are places where it gets hot. Very hot.

In those climates, the creatures that live there adapt not only to heat, but oftentimes to lack of water.

Consider the poor camel. Where he lives, it gets hot-hot-hot during the day but it can get pretty chilly at night, so camels' blood has a special way of cooling their brains so they don't get sick and die. By the way, it's not wise to shave your camel. The fur works as insulation to keep the heat out.

There are animals that can live underwater in places that would crush you if you dared to visit them.

There are animals that can be put in a blender without killing them (they'll actually re-form!) and there are animals that can go months without food and water. See, you're not as tough as you think you are!

Is there a child in your life who has "WHY?" frequently on his lips?

Then "Extreme Animals" is a book you'll want to have around.

Although I thought Neal Layton's illustrations were a little babyish for this book, author Nicola Davies doesn't pander to poor readers.

The language is a little advanced for all but the best third grade readers but older kids shouldn't have much of a problem understanding this fascinating book.

If your child is hot to find out about life on Earth, get a copy of "Extreme Animals."

For curious readers, this book is extremely cool.


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