2004, Darby Creek Publishing
Nancy Garhan Attebury - Children's Literature
Pick up this fact-filled book and follow the tale of albino animals who exist in a world of color. Beginning with the cover-page photo of the albino mouse to Snowflake the albino gorilla featured on the back cover, this book presents a well-told tale of a path less traveled. Hall's introduction offers an excellent explanation about how albinism occurs, making it easy for readers to grasp the concept. Seven different groupings of animals are covered. Groupings include reptiles and amphibians as well as fish and shellfish. The accompanying photographs are excellent. Close-ups of a stingray and hummingbird, both albinos, are just a few of the creatures that will warrant a second look. Informative sidebars are found on many pages. The section on "The Rarest of the Rare" informs the readers as to why they may never be seen by humans. The author rounds out her book with a section on humans, a topic that warrants a book of its own. The pictures will be enjoyed by even elementary aged children, but the best target age is 10 and up. Science and biology teachers will gain student attention when they use this book in the classroom. This book is a Junior Library Guild Selection. 2004, Darby Creek Publishing, Ages 10 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Halls's curiosity and awe of albino animals is evident in her writing as she tracks down incidents of this genetic wonder around the world and across species. After overcoming the incredible odds against inheriting the recessive gene for albinism from both parents, these unique creatures begin life having already used up the greater part of their luck. Their striking white appearance leaves them exposed to the sharp eyes of predators, and the lack of melanin in their skin makes them particularly vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun. The author's discussion consists mainly of a reiteration of these two dangers for each new animal she introduces, resulting in somewhat tedious repetition. The stories rarely have happy endings. The striking cover photo of an albino mouse is likely to draw in curious animal lovers, but the rodent's bulging red eyes provide a clue that this is not a cute, snuggly book. The effect of a white animal on a white background may be appealing on the cover, but the internal photographs become washed out and at times leave their subjects looking more freakish than they truly are. Still, this is an acceptable addition for libraries seeking to satisfy a demand for information on this intriguing topic.-Jenna Miller, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.