Small but Mighty: Why Earth’s Tiny Creatures Matter

Owlkids. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771474313.
Gr 3-4–This introduction to some key players in the animal kingdom focuses on smaller creatures and their lofty importance for the Earth’s ecosystem. While the brief explanations will broaden young readers’ understanding about how a little animal could have a huge impact, they may not be interested in flitting from one spread to another with only bits of information to hold their attention. Despite this issue, Brown makes it clear that each animal’s features have an enormous benefit to other animals, including human beings. Key concepts and vocabulary are invaluable. Well-known creatures like bees and lesser-known ones like the microscopic tardigrade are included. Some of the creatures are featured because scientists are fascinated by what might benefit human beings. For example, the firefly’s ability to produce light without heat suggests to scientists that it might be possible to produce light for human beings without heat, which is of value to preserving the Earth’s integrity. Oliveira uses two-page spreads to create a fanciful side to help readers remember the animals’ features. For example, the firefly is using its light to see a book it is reading. On the other side, realistic drawings place the animal in its habitat. Children learn the interrelatedness of the Earth and its creatures, and they will be encouraged to take part and make a positive difference. Back matter consists of a glossary of accessible definitions of the well-chosen concepts.
VERDICT This is an additional purchase for larger libraries, because facts are minimal, yet the concepts are strong and key to a child’s understanding of the world.

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