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Red Alert

Red Alert! 15 Endangered Animals Fighting to Survive

Published: 5 Mar 2020

Paperback / softback, 48 pages

Recommended for age 5+ and 7+

By Catherine Barr

Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

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Pick a place. Choose a creature. Discover its story and the danger it faces.

Then find out how to help it survive. 15 wild and wonderful creatures, all on the IUCN Red List, need our help - this important book is interactive, engaging and informative, and will inspire children to save their planet

!Red Alert! is inspired and endorsed by the 'Red List' database maintained by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Currently, the list includes over 70,000 species known to be at risk, but it grows larger all the time.

Tagged animals , conservation and endangered species

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Reviewed by Literacy for Pleasure

Red Alert! :15 Endangered Animals Fighting to Survive was written with the collaboration of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This picturebook offers its young audience information about several diverse species whose future is in jeopardy and suggests ways in which readers can raise consciousness further about these issues.

It’s an attractively produced book, with illustrations in bright clear colours and a text which combines a simple story and a series of facts about each creature, and sets out the reasons why each one is on the IUCN Red Alert list. What is especially appealing about the book is its interactive quality, it’s a way of involving readers from the beginning by inviting them to first ‘pick a place’, choose a creature that lives there, and then go to its page to find the information.

The book is dealing with serious issues and is explicit about the fact that so many endangered species are harmed by pollution and hunted for their meat, skin, fur and the exotic pet trade. Nevertheless, it manages to include a small note of hope by recording that a few have been downlisted from endangered to vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, thanks to conservation efforts. The message for the book’s young readers is that there is much more to be done. It encourages agency suggesting they have a part to play, principally by finding out and learning more, creating publicity locally and disseminating information through projects such as making posters, sending ecards and writing and performing poetry. It explains how they can support charities and organisations. There is a useful directory of websites relating to each creature towards the end of the book, which immediately invites further involvement and which will, I imagine, inspire all young readers to take action and find out more.

I am confident that Red Alert! will be pored over individually, shared with friends, and discussed by primary school children of all ages. Although the text focuses on only fifteen creatures, the final list of another sixty endangered species will be hard to ignore. Who would not want to know more about the Golden-rumped Sengi, the Northern Quoll, the Devil’s Hole Pupfish or the Banded Cotinga? And the tribute written by Sir David Attenborough in praise of the IUCN Red List emphasises that this is a book with credibility and relevance for a young contemporary audience.                                                               

Phil Ferguson and Ross Young are teachers who write under the name of Literacy for Pleasure and help curate the Twitter group #WritingRocks.
They have a long-standing interest in children's literature and in the quality of the class library.