A Platypus, Probably

A Platypus, Probably

  • 795

By: Sneed B. Collard III / Illustrated by: Andrew Plant

What is that strange creature paddling down the stream?

What has a bill like a duck's and the body of a beaver? A platypus, probably. Engaging text follows a female platypus through her life, while sidebars offer in-depth information about this unique monotreme and her environment. Vivid, accurate illustrations capture the wonder of this amazing creature.

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Author & Illustrator Bios:

Sneed B. Collard III, author

Sneed B. Collard III has been a biologist and a computer scientist. He's put his knowledge and experience to use by writing more than thirty children's books, including MANY BIOMES, ONE EARTH; BEAKS; and TEETH. He began writing after graduating with honors in marine biology from the University of California at Berkeley. After earning his master’s in scientific instrumentation at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he continued to hone his craft while serving as a computer consultant for biologists. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

Read more about Sneed B. Collard III

Andrew Plant, illustrator

Andrew Plant is a trained zoologist with a strong interest in paleontology. He has illustrated more than one hundred books for children, including the ANCIENT ANIMAL series and LIVING FOSSILS.

Read more about Andrew Plant

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Parallel texts and colorful, detailed illustrations introduce the curious Australian mammal, the platypus, to younger readers. Collard presents basic information in short lines; details that are more complex are added on the same page in a smaller font. So while the younger reader learns that this nocturnal Australian mammal breathes air but feeds under water, the older reader learns how long it can stay under while foraging and is introduced to monotremes, mammals that lay eggs and have patches of milk-oozing skin. The reader will learn facts about the history, physiology, feeding behavior, range and reproductive habits, but not find the answer to the basic question: How big is it? The veteran illustrator, trained in zoology, has paid special attention to details of the animal's habitat in the beautiful double-paged spreads, and brought the platypus back into the child's world with the final silhouette of a fishing father and son, noticing a ripple in otherwise calm waters. An interesting informational read or read-aloud for the young animal lover.


This informational picture book introduces the platypus, which lives only in Australia, and describes the physical characteristics and behaviors of this unusual animal. Comparing its appearance in water to that of a lizard and a beaver, Collard explains that the platypus is a toothless, egg-bearing mammal that lives in and around streams, burrows in the earth for a safe place to sleep and bear young, and finds its food by sensing electricity in the bodies of its animal prey. The main text, in large type, includes the everyday experiences of a female platypus that mates and raises her young, while text in smaller typeface offers added facts for children who want to know more. Richly detailed and atmospheric, the acrylic-and-gouache paintings illustrate the text with many large-scale, horizontal spreads. On the last page, the author discusses efforts to save the platypus and other monotremes by restoring their habitats. A glossary and one Web site are appended.


ISBN: 978-1-57091-584-0

ISBN: 978-1-60734-380-6
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Ages: 5-8
Page count: 32
11 x 8-1/2

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