A noteworthy review of Life Cycles from School Library Journal on January 1, 2012
There are intriguing aspects to the life cycles explored in these books. For instance, all clown fish are born male, but after forming small groups the biggest one becomes a female to reproduce; earthworms and most snail species are hermaphrodites, etc. In all four titles, a page of boxed text alternates with a full-page color photograph (mostly close-ups) of one or more of the subject animals. Each book presents a broad overview of the creatures (basic anatomy, major physical characteristics, habitats, etc.) and describes developmental stages, detailing distinctive characteristics, diet, etc. The volumes conclude with descriptions of the animals’ reproductive process and a photo diagram of their life cycles. The books boast an attractive, clean-lined format and are, for the most part, clearly written. Snake may misinform readers when it states, ‘But the largest snake, the anaconda, can grow as long as 38 feet.’ The anaconda is acknowledged as the ‘heaviest’ snake species, but the reticulated python is known as the world’s longest snake. Leigh Rockwood’s Snails Are Gross! and Worms Are Gross! (both Rosen, 2010) offer more information on anatomy; however, Owens’s titles are more scientific in tone. Clown Fish will help fill a gap for this age level as there are comparatively few titles on this animal.