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Survival at 40 Below    by Debbie Miller & Jon Van Zyle order for
Survival at 40 Below
by Debbie Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Walker, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'Inch by inch, the layer of snow deepens with each winter storm. On a frigid January day, the temperature plummets to 40 below zero. Thick pond ice cracks and makes eerie sounds. The fluffy quilt of snow insulates and protects the many animals, plants, and insects beneath it.'

This picture of a frigid day in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is just one of many Debbie Miller paints of how the creatures who dwell above the Arctic Circle have adjusted to the extreme weather conditions encountered during the winter months.

Moving through the seasons, the animals must prepare during the short summer months for what awaits them once the snow returns to the north. Chickadees, gray jays, and red squirrels prepare caches of food for the winter while the deer shed their old coats and grow new dense fur to ward off the upcoming cold.

Other creatures will rely on special traits to make it through the eight months of winter. The wood frog partially freezes itself in hibernation while the wooly bear caterpillar relies on a special antifreeze substance that prevents ice from forming in its body.

Whether they burrow into the earth to survive, grow protective coats, or find a snug den to hibernate, the animals that live in this region have learned to adapt to survive on the tundra.

Jon Van Zyle's illustrations accompany Miller's text that explains how survival at 40 below is possible. Children seven and older will find this a fascinating description of the creatures that live above the Arctic Circle and how they adjust to severe weather conditions.

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