Talk, Talk, Squawk!: A Human's Guide to Animal Communication

Overview

How does a stinkbug flirt, a bee give orders, or a panda say "back off"? A celebrated duo is back with a guide to messaging, animal-style.

Humans aren't the only creatures who are constantly talking and transmitting messages: animals find all sorts of ways to keep in touch without saying a word. They use colors, patterns, smells, movements, vibrations, sounds, and even electricity to help them identify their own family or "team" — not to mention find food and shelter, defend ...

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Overview

How does a stinkbug flirt, a bee give orders, or a panda say "back off"? A celebrated duo is back with a guide to messaging, animal-style.

Humans aren't the only creatures who are constantly talking and transmitting messages: animals find all sorts of ways to keep in touch without saying a word. They use colors, patterns, smells, movements, vibrations, sounds, and even electricity to help them identify their own family or "team" — not to mention find food and shelter, defend their territory, woo the proper mate, and care for their young. From the chatter of dolphins to the click of a moth, from the stripes of a reef fish to the rumbling of elephants, this funny, fascinating book unlocks the mysteries of how animals talk and squawk to one another— and how humans try to talk back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With their trademark inquisitive wit, Davies and Layton turn to animal communication in this companion to Just the Right Size; What’s Eating You?; and other irreverent guides to the animal kingdom. While much of the material is tongue-in-cheek (baboons exchange shouts of “Wassup, cuz!” and “Hi, bro!”) Davies includes plenty of factual information. Readers will learn how animals use smell, sound, electricity, and even dramatic performance to communicate—for example, a male stinkbug taps on a leaf to create vibrations that notify a female of his presence. Animal lovers should relish the surprising insights into languages we’re just beginning to understand. Ages 8–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Animal lovers should relish the surprising insights into languages we're just beginning to understand.
—Publishers Weekly

This creative team adds to its cheeky series with this volume devoted to animal communication... Entertaining and worthwhile.
—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
Humans cannot stop talking, but we are not the only ones. Everywhere on earth animals are doing it, too. In order to survive and thrive, animals must communicate. One way animals communicate is with their markings or patterns on their bodies. This is how they know friend from enemy. Some animal markings are signals to other kinds of animals to stay away, as in stripes and bright colors. Animals also use odors to both attract some, mostly for purposes of mating or repelling others, like predators. One kind of animal communication humans enjoy is the sounds of songbirds. These songs are communicating either "stay away", to rivals, or "come to me" to potential mates. Males have their own ways of communicating with females and for birds it can be flamboyant feathers or aerial acrobatics. Crickets are impressive long distance communicators, able to create sounds that carry 2000 feet. This wonderful book is full of humorous, clever illustrations. Reviewer: Kristin Harris
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—This creative team adds to its cheeky series with this volume devoted to animal communication. Through an upbeat, conversational narrative, Davies introduces youngsters to key methods of communication (such as uniforms, smells, sounds, songs, and body language), important messages ("one of us," "danger," "keep out," "I am gorgeous," "Where are you?," etc.), why communication is important, and examples from a wide variety of animal species. In organizing her material, Davies uses headings that range from the straightforward "Long-Distance Calls" and "Where's My Baby?" to some less intuitive choices like "Simply Divine" and "Happy Families." As a result, the volume might not function quite as well as a quick reference, but the engaging prose and Layton's comical cartoons provide enough interest to tempt students and browsers into a closer reading. Layton's liberally anthropomorphized and scribbled out cartoons, which convey an active imagination and silly sense of humor, set the tone and play off the more interesting examples in the narrative. A glossary clarifies scientific terms that aren't defined in the text, and an index lists the animals and some types of signals mentioned. More detailed and lighthearted than Steve Jenkins's Slap, Squeak and Scatter (Houghton, 2001), Talk, Talk, Squawk! is entertaining and worthwhile.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Having explored poop and parasites, survival techniques and size, Davies and Layton turn to animal communication, describing how animals send and receive messages by sound, sight, smell and touch, for a variety of purposes. A "hand"-standing panda on the title page sets the cheerful tone of this informal introduction. The author has chosen both familiar and unusual examples, often connecting the animal behavior to children's experiences in ways that almost cross the line into anthropomorphization. Fish coloration is likened to school uniforms; the superb lyrebird performs his mating song and dance on a "stage" of his own making; great bustards "look like large white balloons" as they announce "I am gorgeous." That panda-gymnast is trying to "send an extra signal--'The panda who left this message is very BIG indeed.' " Cartoonlike illustrations, almost doodles, done in ink and colored digitally, add humor to every page, even in the backmatter. They often include speech balloons demonstrating the animals' messages. (The endpapers feature animal sounds in the front, "translated" in the back.) Like other books in this series (most recently, Just the Right Size, 2009), the compact trim size, mostly one-topic-per-spread organization and tongue-in-cheek illustrations will appeal to child readers. Something to crow about. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763650889
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,096,091
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicola Davies has written many award-winning books for children. She is the author of four previous titles illustrated by Neal Layton, as well as BIG BLUE WHALE, ONE TINY TURTLE, SURPRISING SHARKS, and BAT LOVES THE NIGHT. Nicola Davies lives in Somerset, England.

Neal Layton is the illustrator of POOP, EXTREME ANIMALS, WHAT's EATING YOU, and JUST THE RIGHT SIZE, all written by Nicola Davies. Neal Layton lives in Portsmouth, England.

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