Look At Me!: Wild Animal Show-Offs (Jim Arnosky)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Look At Me!: Wild Animal Show-Offs by Jim Arnosky, a colorful look at how animals of all kinds use color, sound, and other tricks to express, defend, and identify themselves.

The latest in his nature series for kids, Arnosky introduces readers to animals who like to “show off”. Dividing them into shared characteristics such as “Fanned Tails” (peacocks and turkeys) or “Noisemakers” (rattlesnakes, bullfrogs, beavers, etc.), the text touches on various ways that animals use auditory or visual displays to establish dominance, find mates, ward off predators, and so on. Beautiful, eye-catching art brings each creature to life in stunning detail.

This was definitely interesting. It’s the first of this series that I’ve looked at, and there were definitely some elements that stood out. First, the art is simply stunning – richly colored and exceptionally realistic pencil drawings and paintings were a huge treat for JJ. However, I would definitely say that this is not a book for very small bookworms – while the illustrations are exceptional, the first-person journal-style text is not particularly suited for younger readers. It does give the book a sense of paging through a naturalist’s field journal, which could be neat for older readers, but also left the information covered a bit too disjointed for JJ to follow. Also, while Arnosky’s hand-picked examples and first-hand observations are interesting, they limit the breadth of the material covered in what is a rather short book of this type. I would be interested to see how this volume fits among the set, rather than standing on its own. Still, this is a wonderfully personal look inside some incredible animal species and a noted expert’s take on them, and would absolutely interest older animal- and nature-loving kids. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Who Eats Orange? (Dianne White & Robin Page)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Who Eats Orange? by Dianne White & Robin Page, a gorgeous and engaging look at colors, food, and wildlife.

Who eats orange? Rabbits do (carrots), and so do chickens (cantaloupe). Goats and pigs do, too! And gorillas- wait! Gorillas don’t eat orange, they eat green! In this rhythm, the reader follows the diets of different animals, large and small, from different areas around the globe – ocean, farm, forest, etc. – each themed around a different color. At last, the reader is shown a rainbow of food – all delicious natural foods of the human diet.

What a clever concept! It seems complicated, and feels a little hard to explain, but works so well in the finished product. JJ was eager to name both the colors and the animals, all of which are illustrated with stunning realism in mixed-media patterns and vibrant colors. The text that signaled the transition between colors was a little awkward to read aloud, and might have been phrased a little differently. It’s a minor complaint, more than made up for in the quality of art and information on the animals, their diets, and their habitats in the backmatter. The length was perfect for storytime, and JJ loved it. This is a really great book for learning about animals from around the world, reinforcing color concepts, and is just plain beautiful to look at. We definitely recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)