Claudia Guadalupe Martinez; illustrated by Laura González
"What is this monstrous creature with feathery gills, long fins, an an intriguing smile?"
It's not a monster! It is the axolotl, a salamander whose only habitat are the canals around Mexico City. The ancient Aztec people called them water monsters.
In this charming informational picture book, readers are introduced to this ancient amphibian that never looses its gills and fins like other salamanders. Though abundant during ancient times, the axolotl began to disappear as the waters of the canal became polluted by people. The abuelos say if the axolotls disappear, "it will be the end of paradise." And, sure enough, after working to clean out all the garbage and plastic bottles, "One day, one of the amigos points. "Huevos de ajolote!" There is a burst of life as the eggs begin to hatch. The axolotls have not disappeared yet."
The language is playful, integrating Spanish words throughout. The scientific information never overwhelms and is well balanced with the colorful, cartoon-like illustrations, created in traditional media and Photoshop.
An author's note is included with more details about the axolotl. Did you know they are commonly bred in captivity? That people keep them as pets? They are pretty cute, don't you think?