Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Prairie Dogs Play Day, Little Stinkers, and Bald Eagles Rule" by Margot Finke

Prairie Dogs Play Day, Little Stinkers and Bald Eagles Rule, is the latest picture book by Margot Finke, a wonderful Aussie-born, American author. I’m a great fan of Ms. Finke’s children’s picture books and 'tween books, plus the great support she gives fellow writers. This lovely book, illustrated by Kathy Iler, is the latest installment in Ms. Finke’s Wild and Wonderful series about Wild US and Australian animals. I’ll list her other books at the end of this review.
Prairie Dogs Play Day, the first of the three stories, gives us facts about prairie dog life, and images of their home and habitat presented in rhyme. I love stories that rhyme. They are such fun for read aloud time. I’ll share one verse that I especially like—then you need to see and read them with the accompanying artwork.

Their home is a cool den down deep in the ground,

with many long tunnels that spread from one mound.

These tunnels stretch far—sometimes up to a mile

and lead to escape holes Inside a dirt pile.

Ms. Finke’s clear, rhyming descriptions of prairie dog activities and family home life, coupled with Kathy Iler’s sweet, action pictures, puts you right in prairie dog town. Through Ms. Iler’s illustrations and Ms. Finke’s words, you can visualize prairie dog life nibbling grass, raising their young, and standing watch for danger.

The second short story, Little Stinkers, is about skunks, of course. It’s cute and funny, brought to life by Ms. Iler’s playful artwork and Ms. Finke’s humorous verses.

If you see stripes you’d better run.
Don’t stop to chat a while.
This fluffy creature has no shame.
It’s a stinker of reknown and fame.

Both Ms. Finke and Ms. Iler have a lot of fun with the rhymes and images in this one—with the little boy holding his nose and running away from the skunk.

The final story is Bald Eagles Rule, about our majestic national bird. Again, Ms. Finke provides insight into the bald eagle lifestyle in verse. These magnificent birds are portrayed soaring, hunting, and chick raising in their habitat. With Ms. Iler’s artwork, you can truly see the majesty in this awesome hunter and understand why he was chosen as our national symbol.

The Bald Eagle gracefully slips through the air,

all feathers in trim and only one care—

to hunt down a meal that will power his day.

And help raise the chicks in their nest far away.

This is an enjoyable book that teaches as it entertains. There are two additional pages of vocabulary notes and references for further class discussion. I recommend this series as a fine addition to any school Social Studies unit about habitat, wildlife and even studying poetry in Language Arts.


Read more about Margot Finke at:

“Wild” books:

Mama Grizzly Bear

Kangaroo Clues

Never Say No to a Frilly

 Picture Books:

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

Ruthie and the Hippo’s Fat Behind

Rattlesnake Jam

Middle Grade books:

Taconi and Claude

The Revenge of Thelma Hill

Down Under Calling

Trial by Walkabout

Tags:  Prairie Dogs, Skunks, Bald Eagles, Margot Finke, rhyming picture books, children's books, stories, wildlife, habitat, nature, rhymes


  1. Thanks for this good review of a good book.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for your comment and support. I love Margot's books. I can't decide if I like the rhyming ones or the 'tween ones better. Wishing her much success. Penny

    2. From Author Margot Finke:
      Janet and Susan, thank you for your comment and good wishes – hugs!

  2. Thanks for the great review Penny. I left a comment earlier but I see it never posted. I think the combination of education, entertaining rhyme and beautiful illustrations make this book a winner. Kudos to Margot and to you for a wonderful presentation.

    1. Hi Susan, Thanks for stopping by and commenting-this book is another winner, especially with the effort Margot puts in to her verse and the resources, too. I don't know why this posting is so messed up. Margot couldn't post, so I'll post her comments later. Wishing her continued success.

    2. Janet and Susan, thank you for your comment and good wishes – hugs!

  3. From Author Margot Finke:
    By the way, I could not add a comment to Prairie Dogs review – again. Could you please add this:
    Janet and Susan, thank you for your comment and good wishes – hugs!

    And Penny, you did Prairie Dog Play Days proud - I am thrilled. This WAS a pre-publication review, but the book is now up on Amazon, OR autographed copies from my website

    Thanks, Margot, We're always glad to see a new book from you! Hugs and Success to you!