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What's the Difference?: An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story    by Suzanne Slade & Joan Waites Amazon.com order for
What's the Difference?
by Suzanne Slade
Order:  USA  Can
Arbordale, 2010 (2010)
Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

On the cover of What's the Difference?: An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story are a colorful globe, a wolf, prairie dogs, a frog, a butterfly, cranes in the air, and a whale in the water. Suzanne Slade features these and more in her rhyming texts that ask questions, spread over two-page layouts, and each accompanied by a mathematical formula.

Eagles are one of my favorites: 'Three sleeping eaglets wake; / each looks like the rest. / Two stretch their wings and fly. / How many in the nest?' The math formula setup is: '3 2 = ?' An outlined box indicates whether the critter is endangered, threatened, or recovered. For example, 'In the 1960s many bald eagle eggs began breaking before the eagles hatched. Scientists discovered the mothers ate fish from lakes polluted with DDT'. After the chemical was banned in 1972, the eagle population grew 'from fewer than 1000 in the 1960's to over 20,000 today. They are now recovered, or no longer endangered.'

Joan Waite's illustrations are spectacular, with vivid splashes of color, while her sketches show the definition of fur, wings, eyes, beaks, claws, and habitat, gracefully calling the reader's attention to each species. The playful Southern sea otter and the beautiful Karner blue butterfly are particularly eye-catching. Suzanne Slade is the author of over 60 books for children, including What's New at the Zoo?, Animals are Sleeping, How Do Tornadoes Form?, and Do All Bugs Have Wings? Joan Waites has illustrated nearly 40 books for the educational and trade marketplace.

For additional fun see the For Creative Minds section at the back of the book, which includes facts and questions referring back to the story pages; an Endangered Animal Vocabulary; Food Chains and Webs; Missing Links in Food Chains; Endangered Animals, and Fact Families. 'Bye for now. But before I go, I offer this math problem - Josephine (that's me) has five Sylvan Dell books to read. / She has finished one, / How many more / Before she is done?

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