Stewart, Melissa

Summertime Sleepers: Animals That Estivate

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Kids know a thing or two about hibernation, but most will find a new concept in estivation--when creatures sleep during summer to avoid extreme heat or to conserve energy when their food sources are scarce. Parallels between these two animal behaviors are drawn right from the book's cover, where the word hibernate is crossed out over an image of a desert hedgehog sleeping soundly in a den, estivating when the sun is hottest. The book catalogs a wide range of estivation behaviors, from pixie frogs that cocoon themselves for a whole season to ladybugs that cuddle together in swarms of hundreds for their long summer sleep. Stewart's main text, a brief introduction to the concept, makes a great read-aloud, with text in smaller type providing additional details about each of the creatures we meet. Brannen's lush, textured watercolors show the estivating animals against detailed backgrounds that give an idea of their different native habitats. Sketches made to look as if they're ripped out of an observational notebook show the same creatures awake and provide additional scientific details. The back matter is strong, with information on each animal featured in the book, a comparison between estivation and hibernation, additional reading and sources, and author and illustrator notes.


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