By Andrew Bridges
Vertebrates: Built on Backbones introduces students to the fascinating world of vertebrate animals. Students learn that every vertebrate has a backbone, the key feature that separates vertebrates from invertebrate animals. The book explains that a vertebrate’s internal skeleton, including its backbone, grows along with the animal. Students explore examples ranging from the family dog to mighty sharks and extinct dinosaurs as they learn about the characteristics that have allowed vertebrates to be successful in ecosystems around the world and through the ages. Students delve into the diversity of vertebrates by reading about the five main vertebrate groups—fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals—and the distinct characteristics of each group. At the end of each two-page spread, a brief statement called The Bottom Line reinforces students’ understanding by summing up the key ideas about vertebrates covered in those pages.