African Animals

African Animals

by Caroline Arnold

  • publisher and date: Harper Collins, 1997
  • genre:Informational
  • age/grade:ages 4-9 years

Synopsis (from
The continent of Africa is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. From giraffes to elephants, meerkats to lions–youngsters can learn how each species is able to adapt to diverse environments ranging from vast grasslands to deep forests to arid deserts.

Author’s Perspective: Many of the photographs in this book are from Caroline’s own collection that she took during a 4 month trip to East Africa with her husband. She has written over 100 books, many of the books being nonfiction and focusing on the natural sciences.

Literary Elements:

Essential Qualities– Provides clear, concise information about 20 different African animals. A theme of how the animals are well adapted for the climate is followed through each animal.

Organization and Scope- Many nonfiction conventions are used to help organize the text: photographs, headings, captions, different types of font, table of contents. The book itself is broken up into 3 main regions: grasslands, forests, and deserts.

Photographs/Illustrations- The photographs show the animals in their natural habitat. The illustrated map at the start of each region shows where that particular climate is found on the continent of Africa.

Curriculum Connections:

Web Resources:


School Library Journal, March 1997

Superb full-color photography, simple but intelligent language, and excellent organization make this a standout in the growing field of nonfiction for the very young. Almost two dozen African species, mostly mammals, are brought to life and placed in the context of their environs. A brief introduction to this lush continent, and a final note about extinction will get children (and the adults reading to them) thinking about their own place in the world. Animals are grouped by habitat (grasslands, forests, and deserts), and basic locator maps show the extent of each area on the continent. . . .Occasional questions provide a natural segue to open discussion. . . . This is a book that youngsters will want to return to again and again. Share it with story-time groups or suggest it for one-on-one reading.”

Booklist, March 1997

“Prolific wildlife writer-photographer Arnold takes a lucid look at 20 African animals. arranged by habitat (grasslands, forests, and deserts), the book features color photographs of such wild beasts as zebras, warthogs, and gorillas. . . . They show close-ups of the crocodile’s sharp teeth, the dark markings on the cheetah’s nose, the python’s scaly skin, and the leopard’s rosette-shaped spots. Given the brevity and simplicity of the text, it is surprisingly informative. Basic characteristics are cited along with questions to the readers: “How would you like to sleep in a tree at night?” Well done.”


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