#437 – Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer

lietime from jacketflapLifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

by Lola M. Schaefer

Christopher Silas Neal, illustrator

Chronicle Books

Inside Jacket:                                              


a caribou will shed

10 sets o antlers,


a woodpecker will drill

30 roosting holes,


a giraffe will wear

200 spots,


a seahorse will birth

1,000 babies.

Count each one and many more as you learn about the fascinating things that can happen in just one lifetime.


Opening:  Lifetime shows how many times one particular animal performs one behavior, or grows one feature, in a lifetime.

About the Book:  Lifetime is about animals common in our world and their interesting traits. As a group, we are mostly unaware of most of these interesting facts that are of extreme importance to the animal. Lifetime is a mix of biology, zoology, sociology, and math. Yes, math. To determine these numbers the author needed to use math, and in the back of the book she gives you the simplified equation used for each animal.

What I Thought:  I found Lifetime to be an interesting and unusual animal book. I had no idea any of these numbers existed. I know that the cross spider lays an egg with hundreds of babies inside ready to crawl out (thank you Furry and Flo). I did not know that the mother spider, as with the queen bee, dies shortly after laying her egg. This means she only lays one egg in her lifetime.


I like the back pages that explain a little more about the animals, but also details how each number was calculated. Kids will see real world examples of why math is important and that they will use math in their daily lives. In addition (no pun intended), to addition, subtraction, and division, rounding up and down numbers is also part of some equations. All of the numbers are averages, another math term, and another equation. How wonderful is this? A nonfiction picture book, with an interesting subject most of us are interested in,—animals—and math equations with real world examples.

The illustrations have a bit of their own uniqueness, and to verify this you will again need math. Not to worry, for this simple addition in the form of counting. In the illustration, it can be as simple as counting the cross spider’s one egg or as intense as counting the giraffe’s 200 spots. Whatever the lifetime number, the illustrator depicted this same amount, or number, of lifetime activity. Considering the seahorse gives birth to 1,000 babies in a lifetime, there is a lot of intricate art to count, all mixed media and beautifully rendered.


Here are a few more numbers I came across. To write this picture book, Ms. Schaefer’s research led her to several experts, including 3 zoos, 1 university, 2 animal farms, and 1 research facility. Now we add that up, 3+1+2+1 = 7. Only seven? How many am I missing? Excuse me; I need to read the part about subtraction again.

An Eleven-Year-Old’s Review


Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives

by Lola M. Schaefer    website    blog

Christopher Silas Neal, illustrator    website    blog    facebook    twitter

Chronicle Books    website    blog    facebook    twitter

Released October 1, 2013

ISBN:  978-1-4521-0714-1

40 pages

Ages 4 to 8


© 2013 by Chronicle Books, used with permission

Text copyright © 2013 by Lola M. Schaefer

Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Christopher Silas Neal





12 thoughts on “#437 – Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer

  1. Pingback: Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives | Science Book a Day

  2. What a great book to put “things” into perspective! I like the concept and your non-standard review!


    • Non-standard review? All my reviews are non-standard, I hope. A little goofy, a little fun, and right on the money. That’s my goal. 😀

      This book, Lifetime, it pretty cool. Who doesn’t want to know that a caribou will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers in its lifetime? Or that, and this is an exclusive not found in the book, an alligator will go through at least 1000 teeth in its lifetime. It has 80 in its mouth, but unlike humans, it regenerates the teeth it loses. 🙂


  3. In fact, Lola spoke to a lot more people than that! We were trying to find a series of animal facts that would gradually increase in quantity, and that were also (this was the tough part) illustratable in a way that would aid students in picturing numbers. Some numbers were too big to fit on the page (10,000?). Some wouldn’t be discrete images (400 miles). Lola ended up researching about five times as many animals as made it into the book–a huge amount of work–and math–that is a testament to Lola’s curiosity and enthusiasm and persistence. Those are the qualities, I think, that are the heart of science!


    • I love your Twitter header photo–great illustration. 🙂
      What was your relationship to this book? Is Lola a pen name for you? How did I not catch this in the book credits?
      I bet it took a lot of research to find the animals that would fit the criteria Lola (you?), were looking for and then being able to add a math equation that would work makes it that much more difficult. I was surprised by the number of credits for research assistance placed on the credit page. Most authors have that in the placed on the acknowledgement page.
      I liked it. I liked being able to show how difficult picture books, especially nonfiction picture books, can be to write. Less pages does not equate to an easier book to write. I think it makes it harder having less pages in which to explain your story or concept. Wonderful book ❗


  4. Great review! I love books like this because it makes the reader, both young and old, “active” readers. p.s. Love that you highlighted the math involved in the author’s own research.


    • She had a long list o those who helped her and my curiosity turned into that paragraph. I had it so it added up more than 11–many of her resources could be classified more than one way–but it was too confusing. I am glad you liked it. Makes it worth doing. I like to have fun with the reviews. Not standard but it works. :grin;


If you like this post ... Why?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.