Thursday 18 September 2014

The Rat and The Slug

Finished September 17
The Rat by Elise Gravel
The Slug by Elise Gravel

These two books are both from the series Disgusting Critters. They are picture books for kids teaching them some facts about these creatures in a fun way. Since many kids like things that are sometimes disgusting, this series is a good idea to convey factual information. The facts contained in each book are varied and general in nature.
In The Rat we are told about the two most common rats, brown and black, including the Latin name of the black rat. We are given some information on size, at least in relation to a mouse, and one page is dedicated to the tail and how it is used. For the tail, the book shows and talks about the rat picking its nose with it, obviously humour to adults, but perhaps confusing to the child reader. We learn about the athletic abilities of the rat, and about its teeth, including how the teeth stay sharp.We are told that they eat most things and can transmit diseases, but are very smart, are sometimes used in labs, and some people have them as pets.There is also one deliberate misspelling of a word for no obvious reasons, not necessarily a great idea for young learners.
In The Slug, we are told about 3 different types of slugs and then focused on land slugs. We learn they are mollusks, but don't have shells. We learn about their two sets of tentacles and what the tentacles are used for. We find out how they breathe, and how they move, and what other parts of their body are called that may be surprising. We find out about mucus and how the snail uses the mucus to move and to protect itself. It also talks about how it procreates and abouts its dual gender nature, but perhaps a little too generally to be helpful. We find out what they eat, and their important role in the environment. It might have been fun to also include information on the varied sizes and colours for interest (or maybe I just find giant slugs fascinating in a way others don't)
All in all, these books are a fun way to have kids learn about creatures they may not be all that familiar with. It's cool that these are by a Canadian author/illustrator and that they were originally written in French.

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