“ Hardcover: 160 pages / Publisher: DK / Published: May 2004 „
==Introduction== I purchased this book a few months ago, as I have been teaching my daughter about different animals. I had bought her a couple of toy animal sets and wanted a book that I could use, alongside her animal figures to help improve her learning about the natural world. It was important to me that I didn't buy anything too advanced for her (as she is only 3), and also I didn't want anything too basic either. I was looking for something around about the middle of these, something with enough information that I could read to her and she would understand it and also something that would last her a few years until she is ready for a more advanced book. ==What is it?== This is one of a large range of books under the DK brand, I find this brand of books quite good for educating the young child, everything is quite informative but not too overbearing for a child to take in. Good illustrations, diagrams and photographs help to make the learning experience more pleasurable. Other books that I have purchased from this series are 'My First Dictionary' and 'My First Encyclopedia', this one is 'My First Animal Encyclopedia' and it has lots of information to help your child learn about animals, it is definitely a nice little starter book for my daughter (even though there is a lot of information in it that is a little too advanced for her, all the basics are there). the book is broken down into sections, this is quite good as it helps your child find certain animals they want to read about really easily and also teaches your child a little about different groups of animals, for instance; your child will learn that a cat is not only part of the cat family, but is also a mammal. At the end of each section there is a little animal quiz were you have to recognize the animals from the little images provided, also at the bottom of each page there is a question, with the answer written upside down on the other page, so there is a lot going on in this book. ========================================================================== The different sections of the book are explained below. ===Mammals=== This section explains everything from what a mammal is, mammal babies and separate two page sections on different types of mammal e.g. rodents, marsupials, cats, dogs, swimming mammals, burrowing mammals etc. This section covers quite a lot and is a big hit with my daughter as her favourite animals at the moment are cats and monkeys ===Birds=== This explains everything there is to know about birds (well that's what it looks like judging by the amount of pages in this section). From different types of birds to courtship, to nesting, to migration, yes, a lot to take in for a three year old, but through time I'm sure she'll be looking up the other more advanced categories in this section, rather than sticking to the different types of bird. ===Reptiles & Amphibians=== Lizards, snakes, frogs and toads, alligators and crocodiles, you'll find them all in this section, my favourite section in the book and probably Lily's second favourite, due to her fascination for crocodiles. ===Creepy Crawlies=== Not everyones cup of tea, but spiders, beetles, flys, wasps and bees are all included here. This chapter ends with a section on micro life; dust mites, bed bugs, eyelash mites (well you learn something new every day) and every parents nightmare...head lice. ===Fish=== Since the majority of the earth is covered by water, everything is included in this section, from river creatures to sea creatures, from the beautiful, to the just plain ugly, to the ferocious, to the timid. I felt the shark category in this section was too short, but then I have to remember that this is a childrens book. ===Reference Section=== This section covers a number of trivial facts about animals broken down into their sections, such as ; "What is the loudest land animal?", I won't spoil it for you, you'll have to buy the book, but I never knew the answer to that until looking at the book with Lily. This section is also the shortest section in the book, only spanning 2 pages. ==Price== I purchased this book from amazon.co.uk for £9.56, and for something that will last my daughter for a few years, it is well worth the price. ==Verdict== My daughter and I love this book, it is packed full of information, great photographs and illustrations. The whole book is written in a really easy to understand way, which helps a lot when trying to relay the information back to a young child, it also has little question and answer sections and other various quizzes that can be fun and encourage my daughter to interact with the book, it also shows she's been paying attention. I think this book is aimed at a slightly older child, but my daughter gets a lot of use out of it so I don't think there should be an age restriction on it, as all children are different and it also depends on what they enjoy looking at/learning about. the major thing I didn't like about this book, was the amount of pages dedicated to birds, I think they went a little bit overboard with this section and I felt it was like they started that section first and got lazy when it came to doing all the other sections, despite this, it hasn't put me off recommending this book to everyone, the book is great, it just could have been a little better and that's why I am giving it 4/5 stars.