Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Rebecca E. Hirsch
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Platypuses: Web-Footed Billed Mammals includes an introduction and four chapters, titled “Meet the Platypus,” “What Do Platypuses Look Like,” “Where Do Platypuses Live,” “Platypus Hunting Behavior,” and “The Life Cycle of Platypuses.” Each chapter opens with factual information on the chapter’s individual subject. The information is brief, to the point, easy to understand, and captivating. In each chapter the author compares a platypus with a similar animal and with a dissimilar animal. The end of the book provides a chart that lists the similar and dissimilar traits between platypuses and all the other animals with which it was previously compared.
All the information given on the platypus itself is interesting and informative. The comparisons of platypuses with similar animals given in the book, such as beavers, otters, dolphins, and echidnas, are fascinating and allow the reader to understand how various characteristics of particular animals give them similar or different capabilities. However, the book makes comparisons with very different animals, such as giraffes, dall sheep, African wild dogs, and blue whales. These animals are so dissimilar to the platypus that all the facts listed about them cause the reader to forget that the main subject of the book is in reality the platypus. At many times, the book appears to be a general book on mammals, and not a book specifically on the platypus. However, the chart given at the end eventually ties everything back together.