Cute as an Axolotl

Cute as an Axolotl
Written by Jess Keating, Illustrated by David DeGrand

Publisher’s Summary:
The Internet pretty much runs on cute animal photos, but “cute” is so much more than clickbait kittens and insta-pups. Cute is for feathery-gilled axolotls (pronounced- ax-uh-LOT-ulz), shy pygmy hippos, poisonous blue dragons, and armored pangolins. All of these animals are cute, but they’ve also adapted in remarkable ways to survive in their unique environments.

Primary Source Pairing:
Using cute photographs and even cuter illustrations, author Jess Keating and illustrator David DeGrand create an educational and fun reading experience in Cute as an Axolotl. Students will find each animal cuter and more interesting than the last. Use Jess Keating’s discussion questions and drawing activity included at the end of the book as an extension. For this primary source pairing, incorporate a math and map lesson to create a cross curricular visual literacy experience. Depending on the learning environment, print the printable ruler (here) for each student or link an online ruler (here). Print a world map (here) or link an online map (here). As you read the book, stop and make note of the size and habitat for each animal. Invite students to measure the size on the ruler and find the habitat on the map. Encourage students to make connections throughout the book to other cute animals and their sizes and habitats. 

Questions for Discussion:

  • What is the size of the cute animal from the book Cute as an Axolotl?
  • Does this surprise you? Why or why not?
  • Think about the size of the cute creature in connection to another object about the same size.
  • What is the biggest animal in the book? What is the smallest? 
  • What is the cutest?! (trick question! they are all cute!)
  • Where is the animal’s habitat located on the world map?
  • Where do you live on the world map?
  • Does this animal live on the same continent as you? Are you North, East, South, or West of the animal’s habitat?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Printable ruler: (note printing instructions)
Online ruler: (note computer screen resizing algorithm) 
Printable world map: (also a good link to share with students for online viewing)
Online world map: