Saturday, April 24, 2021

Pouches, Pouches! Super Marsupials Kangaroos, Wombats and More by Katherine Kehne

Humans keep their babies in cribs and car seats and carry them in their arms, but all 300 kinds of marsupials protect them in pouches on their bodies!

Marsupials are different from mammals like humans and bats, and dogs and cats.

All marsupials are born pink and hairless, tiny as a bean. They can't see or hear. They have no hind legs.

Marsupial newborns must make their way into their mother's pouches, where they are rewarded with milk and a leisurely period of growing legs and hair and finishing up with their ears and eyes and whatever else they need. This process can even last for months, as in the case of kangaroos, before they hop out, and they can still hop back, performing an amazing somersault, into the pouch for protection until they are big and strong.

Kangaroos live on the ground, have large tails that they use for balance, hopping high and far in groups called "mobs," and eating greenery. But other marsupials, like koalas and tree kangaroos are arboreal, preferring to spend most of their time climbing around in trees with their strong claws. Sugar gliders, sometimes called "flying squirrels," have "wings" of loose skin that they spread to glide between branches and even trees. The only marsupials outside of Australia, the North American opossum, can actually hang by their tails from branches, although they also spend part of their time on looking for all kinds of foods on the ground. And back in Australia, wombats dig underground tunnels and chambers.  And the rare Tasmanian devil is one scary-looking critter on the ground, screaming and spinning to frighten predators away!

But all marsupials have the pouch in common, a cozy way to spend their baby days!

Illustrated in full color by Stephanie Kizer Coleman, Katherine Kehne's Super Marsupials: Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, and More (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) (Harper, 2019) introduces the varied and fascinating life forms of marsupials, perfect for reading aloud to preschoolers and for young animal researchers in the early grades. Kids love animals, and the marsupials are certainly a fascinating part of the animal family, exotic, awesome, some seemingly cute and cuddly, and some fearsome, but all likely to spark more interest in the varied wonders of zoology on this planet!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home