Little Skink’s Tail, by Janet Halfmann
While Little Skink hunts yummy ants for breakfast, she is suddenly attacked by a crow! But she has a trick to escape she snaps off her tail, and it keeps on wiggling! Little Skink is happy to be alive, but she misses her bright blue tail. Little Skink’s Tail follows Little Skink as she daydreams of having the tails of other animals in the forest. Readers will enjoy pretending with her, trying on tail after tail. The first is too puffy-fluffy, and another too stinky! Then one day Little Skink gets a big surprise…and she doesn’t have to dream of tails anymore. The For Creative Minds section has information on tail adaptations and communications and a mix-and-match tail activity.
My thoughts: This is a little gem of a book that accomplishes two things: it tells a wonderful story, and it helps parents explore the world of animals and their tails with their children. The first time I read this book to my son, I was surprised because for some reason, I had expected the book to be non-fiction; instead, it is the delightful story of Little Skink who has to snap off her beautiful bright blue tail in order to escape from danger. The book follows her as she uses her imagination to try on the tails of other animals; the story ends with a happily-ever-after, as Little Skink turns around one day and sees her tail has grown back.
This is a picture book that my son often asks me to re-read, and it has also served as a great way to start an educational (but fun) discussion about why different animals have different tails – what are the different functions of different kinds of tails? Why would switching to a different kind of tail be not only impractical but possibly dangerous? What types of animals are lucky enough to be able to grow back a tail they’ve lost? Little Skink’s Tail is a great picture book that manages to educational, too. It’s no wonder it has won several awards.