Bees Dance and Whales Sing: The Mysteries of Animal Communication

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From this book youngsters will learn that ``anthropomorphism''--ascribing human characteristics to animal communication--can be harmful to science. But they will also discover intriguing and surprising behavioral traits that will increase curiosity about human-animal relationships. In addition to the title song and dance, seven chapters explain how one fire ant tells sister worker ants where food is, how pet dogs and cats use body language, how bats call ultrasonically and fin whales and elephants rumble infrasonically, stet comma and how chimps and apes communicate with humans through Ameslan--American Sign Language. Facklam's smooth, conversational style makes fact-reading easy: ``. . . the ocean is not a quiet place. . . . Oysters clack, shrimp holler, and toadfish bleat like foghorns.'' Each chapter briefly describes specific experiments and research leading to knowledge about animal communication. Although Johnson's black-and-white halftone drawings add variety pictorially, they impart little zest or additional information to the text. Ages 8-11. (June)
Children's Literature
Can you guess what the terms "noseleaf," "melon," and "blowhole" have in common? All refer to different body parts that certain animals use to communicate with others of their kind. In an age when technology is propelling communication into cyberspace and beyond, some of the most interesting communication takes place right here on Earth. This award-winning science writer introduces the varied and complex ways of animal communication with captivating writing and fascinating facts. She relates, for example, that toads overindulging on fireflies will glow; that birds sing in dialects; and that bees have brains the size of a grass seed yet have an intricate communication system. From vervets to whales, ants to gorillas, elephants to humans, the author details the myriad ways communication takes place among and between species. Lifelike pencil drawings contribute to understanding animal behavior. Together, the outstanding writing and dynamic drawings will keep both the science buff—and the child who thinks he isn't!—turning the page in search of ever more absorbing information. An index is included. 2001 (orig. 1992), Sierra Club Books/Gibbs Smith, $14.95 and $6.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Stephanie Farrow
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-- A volume loaded with interesting facts about the basic kinds of animal communication, including scents/pheromones, dances, body language, vocal expressions, echolocation, water signals, and sign language. What fun it is, too, to read about beavers' ``mudpie telegrams,'' monkeys' ``leopard alarms,'' and birds' family songs. Remarkable, also, is Facklam's inclusion of the latest scientific information, from robot bees to elephants' infrasonic communication. The pen-and-ink illustrations quietly complement the lively text. Although Janet McDonnell's Animal Communication (Childs World, 1989) is an acceptable choice for this age group, Facklam's book has a bit more text and sparkle. True, librarians may not need both, but the quality of this one shines through. --Amy Nunley, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578050765
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 PBK ED
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.15 (d)

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