A beaver slaps its tail on the water to warn other beavers of approaching danger. A mother bat returning to the cave can locate her baby among two or three million other bats by using a special cry. And the male hippopotamus marks his territory by spinning his tail and scattering his dung. These are just a few of the unusual ways animals communicate with one another. This beautifully illustrated work by noted author and illustrator Steve ...
A beaver slaps its tail on the water to warn other beavers of approaching danger. A mother bat returning to the cave can locate her baby among two or three million other bats by using a special cry. And the male hippopotamus marks his territory by spinning his tail and scattering his dung.
These are just a few of the unusual ways animals communicate with one another. This beautifully illustrated work by noted author and illustrator Steve Jenkins describes many more fascinating and curious ways of animal communication.
In this handsome book, Steve Jenkins introduces the reader to creatures exotic (vervet monkeys, barking tree toads, lemurs, flashlight fish) and familiar (beavers, cats, chaffinches, wolves) and describes how they communicate with one another. The striking illustrations are collages of cut and torn paper which perfectly capture each of the subjects. The text is equally impressive. Deceptively simple, it conveys with great clarity a lot of sometimes quite complex information in a few short sentences per page. The choice of facts is fascinating and child-friendly. Who would have thought that the vervet monkey has a different warning cry for eagles, leopards and snakes¾and that his fellow monkeys will take a different protective action in response to each? What is your cat really up to when it rubs against your legs? And why would you certainly not want to stand behind a hippo preparing to mark his territory? A superb introduction to the wonders of the world around us, this book may well inspire a future naturalist. 2001, Houghton Mifflin, $16.00. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Barbara Maitland
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Paper collage is the medium used to illustrate this introduction to animal communication. Jenkins organizes his subject by types of messages-warnings, mating signals, conflict avoidance, locating young, finding food, and territorial displays. Within each topic, examples include messages conveyed by sound, scent, visual signals, dance, chemical marking, and an unusual use of light by the flashlight fish. The brief, well-organized text is easy to read. Illustrations are appealing, with some more successful in depicting the act of communication: deer flashing the white fur on the underside of their tails to signal danger, boobies performing a mating dance, cowering wolves, etc. Bobbie Kalman's How Animals Communicate (Crabtree, 1996) provides similar information but the text is sometimes choppy. Slap, Squeak is the more attractive of the two volumes.-Cynthia M. Sturgis, Ledding Library, Milwaukie, OR Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Jenkins, whose art can be seen in his own and others' books on natural themes, here provides an introduction to the ways animals communicate, with brief text and full-color torn- and cut-paper collages. Jenkins notes: "Animals send messages with sounds, visual signals, and touch. They use odors and chemical messages, create vibrations in the ground, or even light up to communicate with others of their kind." Handsome animal collages show some animals full-figure and others in close-up, including bats, wolves, cats, klipspringer (a kind of antelope), blue-footed boobies, and whales. The crushed-paper collages—the illustrator's trademark—are appealing, but colors in this title are subdued, and the layouts frequently place disparate animals on the left and right page, making this title less useful for display. For example, the left panel shows two blue-footed boobies in a mating dance, while the right page shows an orb-web spider. Most successful are those layouts that capture the act of communicating, for example the two wolves, one cowering and submissive as the other snarls, or the cat rubbing up against a person's pant leg. For the most part, though, communication is hard to show. A humpback whale swims, but how do we know it's singing? The viewer can't see the elephant's rumbling stomach or the dolphin's whistling. While the title will provide a first look at animal communication, it is not as successful as Jenkins's previous efforts. (Nonfiction. 8-10)
Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated nearly twenty picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eyepopping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children.