What Animals Really Like

Overview


When the National Animal Choir performs the latest song by renowned composer and conductor Mr. Herbert Timberteeth, nothing goes exactly as planned. Mr. Timberteeth has some preconceived notions of what animals like to do that are reflected in his song. But it turns out that lions prefer flower arranging to prowling and shrimp would rather ski than swim! With all the dissension and mayhem, will the show still go on? This hilarious picture book delivers a subtle message about stereotyping that kids, who are so ...
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Overview


When the National Animal Choir performs the latest song by renowned composer and conductor Mr. Herbert Timberteeth, nothing goes exactly as planned. Mr. Timberteeth has some preconceived notions of what animals like to do that are reflected in his song. But it turns out that lions prefer flower arranging to prowling and shrimp would rather ski than swim! With all the dissension and mayhem, will the show still go on? This hilarious picture book delivers a subtle message about stereotyping that kids, who are so often pigeonholed, will appreciate.

Awards and Praise for What Animals Really Like
2012 Winner of the Irma S. Black & James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature

"Robinson's story will keep children giggling at the beaver’s frustrated reactions and the animals’ unpredictable preferences. Encore!"
--Publishers Weekly

"Guffaws and surprising twists will have youngsters clamoring for a repeat performance. Brava!"
--Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After a title page announces “A New Song Composed & Conducted by Mr. Herbert Timberteeth,” an opening gatefold reveals a huge cast of animals on a proscenium stage, organized in prim little groups as if for a recital. And the song that follows, directed by Timberteeth (a beaver), would fit right in at an elementary school performance, as the animals sing about stereotypical “likes” (“We are lions, and we like to prowl./ We are wolves, and we like to howl”). But the proceedings (and the rhyme scheme) turn anarchic when the animals reveal their actual interests: after the pigeons sing that they like to “coo,” the cows reveal that they like to... dig. Owing both to the flummoxed metanarrative of Mo Willems’s Pigeon books and to the gleeful non sequiturs of Mac Barnett and Adam Rex’s Guess Again! Robinson’s (The 3-2-3 Detective Agency) story will keep children giggling at the beaver’s frustrated reactions and the animals’ unpredictable preferences—such as shrimp that ski (“e just got our photos back. Here we are in Switzerland”) and monkeys that enjoy all-you-can-eat buffets. Encore! Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–2—This amusing story begins when readers open two foldouts to part a pair of red curtains. On stage is a large group of animals ready to give voice to the composer/conductor's new song. Unfortunately, his preconceived notions about the creatures are evident. For example, "We are lions,/and we like to prowl./We are wolves,/and we like to howl./We are pigeons,/and we like to coo." But when the cows sing, "We are cows,/and we like to…dig," Mr. Herbert Timberteeth hesitates. "Dig" was not part of his song. He allows the performance to continue, though, as the monkeys, horses, and worms sing their lines. But when the warthogs start blowing bubbles to demonstrate what they like to do best, and the kangaroos croon about their love of Ping-Pong, the conductor is ready to quit. The pen, ink and marker-pens illustrations show a number of animals dressed in their finest. They become livelier and bolder as their performance goes on. Although Robinson keeps the focus and humor on the well-lit stage, she occasionally pans over to the audience where all readers see are the many colorful eyeballs peering out of the darkness. Sublime silliness.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Kirkus Reviews

World-famous conductor Herbert Timberteeth (an aptly named beaver) is about to debut his new song, "What Animals Like Most."

The curtain parts with a horizontal gatefold to reveal all of the performers stretched out on stage. The lions begin the show. They unenthusiastically sing, "We are lions, and we like to prowl." Reluctant wolves chime in with "We are wolves, and we like to howl." The pigeons predictably follow suit. "We are pigeons, and we like to coo." But the cows, with mischievous grins, sing, "We are cows, and we like to ... / ... dig," gleefully whipping out spades and shovels to emphasize their point. Dig?! A stern glare from Timberteeth stops the shenanigans, and the song continues. But soon other animals start changing the lyrics too. Do kangaroos really like to hop around? No, they much prefer Ping-Pong. Do worms like to wiggle? No, they like to bowl! Timberteeth throws his baton down in disgust. These darn animals are ruining the show. Or maybe they are just tired of being misunderstood! Robinson's pen-and-ink illustrations pack plenty of visual wit, too. A shrimp (who likes to ski) has multiple broken legs, and by the end, the monkeys (who like buffets) are snoozing off food comas.

Guffaws and surprising twists (plus Timbertooth's exaggerated tantrums) will have youngsters clamoring for a repeat performance. Brava!(Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810989764
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 382,336
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Fiona Robinson is the author-illustrator of The Useful Moose: A Truthful, Moose-full Tale and The 3-2-3 Detective Agency. She has been praised by Publishers Weekly for her “humor tinged with heart,” and her work has been honored by the Royal Academy of Arts. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

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