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Armadillo Trail: The Northward Journey of the Armadillo    by Stephen Swinburne & Bruce Hiscock order for
Armadillo Trail
by Stephen Swinburne
Order:  USA  Can
Boyds Mills Press, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This nicely illustrated work of nonfiction follows the journey of an armadillo family as the mother and her four pups seek a new home after being threatened by other animals. Already well established when Spanish explorers arrived in the New World, the early European visitors dubbed the strange looking creature el armadillo or the little armored one.

As the story opens, a mother armadillo gives birth to four babies in her burrow in a Texas field. As the pups grow they begin to accompany their mother on trips foraging for food. As they probe the soil looking for earthworms, slugs, snails, beetles and other delicacies, a farm dog attacks, and only three of the little armadillos make it safely back to the burrow.

When they next emerge from their home it is to begin the journey to find a safer place to live. The mother follows the edge of a floodplain of a small river as she begins moving northward.

As they grow larger, one of the pups ventures out on her own and now we follow the journey which takes her into Oklahoma. Eventually the armadillo finds a male and the cycle begins again as eight months after mating she gives birth to four babies.

In a very informative narrative, Stephen Swinburne shares a lot about the habits and physical characteristics of these low slung, armored creatures who evolved 55 million years ago in South America. It's an interesting story and one youngsters seven years of age and older, who are interested in natural science and wildlife, will find fascinating.

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