Animals Born Alive and Well

Book cover of Animals Born Alive and Well

QL 706.2 .H44 1982: QL encompasses Zoology, and QL 700-739.8 are devoted to mammals.

Author: Ruth Heller
City and Publisher:
New York: Grosset & Dunlap
Copyright Date:

Reader’s Annotation: Rhymes and pictures illustrate the similarities and differences represented in the mammal class.

Plot Summary: This book will blow your mind!  Mammals may share some similarities, but there are also a fascinating range of differences.  Animals Born Alive and Well showcases different groups of mammals, illustrating the fascinating variation in existence (and in extinction).

Critical Evaluation: Heller uses clever, rather than twee, rhymes to pull this book along.  The words and pictures really work together to create understanding.  The text has humor, without being too jokey.

Illustrations: The pictures are a detailed enough to be interesting to young minds, but are never busy.  Heller uses naturalistic colors, primarily muted browns.  Her animals have personality without being anthropomorphized.

Reading Level/Interest: 4-8
Curriculum Ties:
From the California State Science Content Standards. Kindergarten – Students know: different types of plants and animals inhabit the earth. As a basis for understanding this concept: Students know how to observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and animals (e.g., seed-bearing plants, birds, fish, insects).
Booktalking Ideas:
Ask if students know what a mammal is.  Bring in some mammals to show off!

Challenge Issues: There are a few pages of nursing babies, which may create some awkward questions that some parents would rather not answer.

About the Author: Heller graduated from UC Berkeley in 1946 with a degree in Fine Arts.  She published many children’s books and coloring books.  She lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all her life.  More information at