Animal BFFs: Even Animals Have Best Friends!

Frances Lincoln. Apr. 2022. 160p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780711260177.
Gr 2-4–Children engaged in scientific research may find this humorous romp through symbiotic animal relationships an easier read because of the anthropomorphic text and illustrations that go from the silly to the informative. This casual presentation, illustrated digitally in cartoon style, pairs well with the author-illustrator’s over-the-top fun. It is not all entertainment, with a fact section on each page that brings to life three types of symbiotic relationships: mutualism, communalism, and parasitism. It is also not entirely even, with mutualism carrying the most weight, and becomes slightly repetitive as some relationships are based on a smaller animal cleaning the skin or fur of pests. This is a great introduction to vocabulary, except for the word “nonnative,” which does not appear in the glossary, and the incorrect definition of “carnivore.” The charm of this title is the door it opens on the subject, helping readers understand that there are many types of relationships in the animal world. Corrigan includes fascinating facts (e.g., that some animals use a form of sign language to communicate). Back matter contains a glossary and further reading suggestions.
VERDICT Among pearls of knowledge, there are a few problems, but the idea of animal best friends may prove irresistible to children.

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