Monday, February 28, 2011

Zebras and Oxpeckers Work Together

"We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth."
~ George Bernard Shaw

When Shaw wrote the above he probably wasn't thinking about zebras and oxpeckers. But these creatures from the animal kingdom illustrate his quote perfectly. Oxpeckers dine off the lice and ticks they find on zebras. They also use the animals' soft hair to line their nests. Besides getting harmful parasites off their backs, zebras benefit when oxpeckers alert them to danger, calling out and flying away whenever they spot predators, such as hungry lions lurking in the high savanna grass. This gives the zebra herd time to escape.

Zebras and Oxpeckers Work Together is part of a series featuring animal symbiosis. The text, written on a Grade 1 level, introduces the concept clearly and concretely. The vivid photographs are well-chosen--the one of a herd running from a lion is full of drama--and help beginning readers understand the relationship between bird and grazer. A glossary defines words specific to the subject, such as parasite, savanna, and symbiosis, and there is a listing of books and internet sites for more information. Additional animal pairs in the series are ants and aphids; clown fish and sea anemones; and moray eels and cleaner fish. All in all, a welcome series for young animal-loving science enthusiasts.

Zebras and Oxpeckers Work Together
by Martha E.H. Rustard
Capstone Press, 24 pages
Published: 2011  

This week's Nonfiction Monday is being held at Rasco From RIF.


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. That cover is definitely eye catching.

  2. It's good to see interesting nonfiction for first grade. I am not a fan of reading programs like Accelerated Reader or Scholastic Reads, because many teachers use them to restrict reading choices. As a Youth Services librarian and as a Media Specialist, I've seen that first grade is an age when kids become fascinated with the animal world and the insect world, and there are never enough books "at their level" (as evaluated by those kinds of programs), to meet their interests.

    I like your George Bernard Shaw quote!