The Surprising Lives of Animals: How they can laugh, play and misbehave!

Ivy Kids. Feb. 2020. 48p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781782409236.
Gr 2-5–A veteran author of more than 200 children’s books, Claybourne has crafted a diverse compilation of vignettes about the lives of animals. Each double-page spread contains information about one aspect of an animal’s daily life, such as making friends, solving problems, and what animals do when they (or a friend) feel unwell. Each spread covers multiple animal classes, so penguins and tigers—or armadillos and monkeys—might appear under the same topic. The organization allows readers to chew on bite-sized chunks of information over a length of time or to devour the whole book in a matter of hours. Murphy’s whimsical, detailed illustrations fully support and invigorate the text. The marriage of the text and illustrations is so successful that the volume would be incomplete without either. A table of contents, glossary, and further reading recommendations are included. Every few pages include a “Scientist Spotlight” that celebrates a notable person in animal science. The use of regional colloquialisms (such as “get on” or “fall out”) could confuse some readers who are unfamiliar with the phrases. Nonetheless, readers of all ages will enjoy learning about familiar and unfamiliar animals and their behaviors.
VERDICT A good addition to children’s animal collections at home, school, or public libraries.

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