P A N G A E A
Coquí and His Friends
PONCE ANOLE © Alfonso Silva Lee
BOOK REVIEWSKids Get Acquainted with Nature
Kids have a distinct curiosity for nature and animals.
Biologist and photographer Alfonso Silva Lee knows that very well. And in catering to those needs he has just come out with Coquí y sus amigos/Coquí and His Friends (Pangaea), a slim and easy-to-read bilingual book that lists the small creatures of Puerto Rico and their habits.
Geared toward the 8-12 age group, the book is more of a guide for kids who enter their nature-loving years.
The Coquí y sus amigos starts with a brief geographical description of Puerto Rico, its geological history and how its first inhabitants were actually animals.
Good color photos illustrate each and every creature, from the crawly millipede (gongolí) to the unattractive tailles whip scorpion (guabá), to the Mona rock iguana, to the free-tailed bat and the octopus.
And, of course, there's the ubiquitous coquí.
The small and very noisy little frog, the coquí, has thousands of friends that give music, color and movement to the island.
The book Coquí and His Friends: The Animals of Puerto Rico, by Alfonso Silva Lee, offers an easy and simple to read history of the origin of the fauna of the Island and how the animals depend on one another to keep the island and the sea that surrounds it very healthy.
The text treats the marine and land animals and includes excellent photographs of each one, at the same time that it invites children to appreciate their captivating characteristics and to learn about their ecological merits.
The book has been designed for children between eight and twelve years old and, in a bilingual way, is split into four chapters, one of which is Born an Island that narrates the emergence of the Island from the bottom of the sea and how it derived from the rest of the earth, including the continents.
In the next chapter, Arrival of the Plants and Animals, the arrival to land of many plants, as well as animals, is reported.
In Ugly Animales?... the author details different kinds of animals, such as the gigantic centipede, the scorpion and the bird-eating spider that, by their grotesque appearances, have come to be called "ugly."
The Coral Forests is the fourth chapter. It describes the animals that live in the sea and, finally, Puerto Rico Is Alive where the child relates to the island as a source of life.
The photos were taken by the author, as well as by Conrado M. Calzado Cordero from Ponce.
The book was publisheded by Pangaea Publishing and is available on the Internet at pangaea.org.
THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: The Book Watch (July 2000)
This coverage of the animals of Puerto Rico is hard to easily categorize: Coquí y sus amigos appears a bilingual children's book but also holds many hard-to-find images and natural history facts for adults, thus is reviewed here, recommended for adult audiences as well. Color photos of insects and lizards are accompanied by natural history descriptions in both English and Spanish. Bright and unusual.
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