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Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks?: And Other Questions about Animals

Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks?: And Other Questions about Animals

By: Buffy Silverman
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN: 978-0822590835
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2010

There are some common sayings you probably have heard that really don't make a lot of sense, but is there anything to them or are they just old wives' tales? Take for example the saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." True or not? That one just happens to be false because yes indeed, you can teach an old dog new tricks, provided he wants to learn. It is harder for an old dog to learn because, as in human beings, as a dog ages, "the brain cells do not make connections as easily . . . then learning and remembering [becomes] harder." Of course scientists have looked into this and proved that a good diet with extra nutrients helps improve a dog's memory (and ours too!). This is one of many interesting and fun things you can learn in this book. The critters of the world have long been misunderstood or have had little fallacies spring up about them.

There is one really ewwwww question kids would like to know the answer to and that one is, "Is it true that a worm can grow inside your brain?' The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Not to worry because it is preventable and if a worm does get in your body "doctors prescribe drugs that are very good at killing tapeworms." You will learn all about parasitic tapeworms and how they can actually get inside a person's brain. You'll even get to see a picture of one. Curious kids love the answers to oddball questions and there are plenty in this book. You'll learn about spider silk, the possibility of birds abandoning their babies if you touch them, bloodthirsty sharks, the ostriches' habit of sticking their heads in the sand, how cats land on their feet, bat vision, porcupine quills, the sleeping habits of fish and much more!

If you have an inquiring mind, you're going to love this book full of fun facts and unusual questions. This book separates fact from fiction in a very interesting and informative manner. It presents a common saying in the form of a question, gives the answer and then presents a detailed explanation. The explanations are age appropriate and not overly detailed, but because of the interest factor may lend themselves to interest in expanding the answer and writing a school report. The book is peppered with interesting photographs and has a few scattered graphic illustrations. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a selected bibliography and additional recommended book and website resources.

Quill says: Can an alligator really live in the sewer? You'll have to read this book to find out!

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