With a wordless story frame illustrating a family going for a walk in the park with their dock, A Mammal is an Animal by Lizzy Rockwell (Holiday House, January 2018) explains the differences between mammals, birds, and other animals. In the picture book, the illustrated family explores the unique creatures around them and learn about basic facts about mammals as well as other animals.
Large, easy to read sentences on each page ask the reader if the pictured animal is a mammal, and the child listener may be prompted to respond Yes! or No! Subsequent pages do add more text, but all seems well suited to a read-aloud. Smaller caption text on each gives additional facts about the animals on the page. Animals are labeled throughout the book, and additional graphics emphasize the concepts discussed. The middle pages don’t show much of the family going for their walk, but we meet up with them again when they are in their homes. That’s when we also learn that humans are mammals.
Although the text primarily claims to focus on mammals, it compares and contrasts mammals to other animals throughout, making a helpful educational text about all animals. On various pages, the book compares mammals to worms, insects, fish, reptiles, and birds. End matter even discusses strange mammals (those who don’t follow the rules). With a nice balance between the soft pencil illustrations, the informational text, and the labeled captions, A Mammal is an Animal would be a wise addition to lesson about animals or mammals in particular. Animal lovers will likewise enjoy the variety of animals portrayed and discussed on its pages.