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Posted May 8, 2013
Who doesn’t love a book that is fascinating and funny, interesting and intriguing, educational and entertaining? Reader Digest has published just such a book in What If Humans Were Like Animals? The Amazing and Disgusting Life You’d Lead as a Snake, Bird, Fish, or Worm? by Marianne Taylor and Lauren Taylor.
If you have a child you wish would read more, this book just might be your solution. Like the cookbooks that show you how to sneak beets or zucchini into brownies, this book “sneaks” reading into absurd scientific facts; and the cartoon-like illustrations on each page are the frosting on top.
One of my favorites is “Geek Chic” on page 126: “Everyone wants to be popular, especially at school Some animals love to be popular, too. You should never hide how wonderfully clever you are just to fit in at school. In groups of chimps, the dominant one isn’t always bigger and tougher than the others. He is cleverer and better at getting his fellow chimps on his side—especially the females.”
Some pages make you say, “Eeew!” These are the ones that have a Rotten Rating next to them. For example, “A Stinky Pair” gets a rotten rating of 4 out of 5. The illustration shows a boy with fumes radiating from his feet and a girl standing next to him holding her nose. The text reads, “When dogs sweat, nearly all of it comes out of their feet. Feet are pretty stinky to begin with—how would you keep the stink at bay if you sweated in the same way?” “Building a Tower of Poo” rates the full 5 points.
Other facts might receive a Scary Score, Smart Points, or How Handy rating, depending on the animal’s behavior or characteristic and how that might apply to you.
Some facts are about obscure animals, such as the velvet worm that squirts slime at its prey.
But others provide insight to our pets. Did you know that dogs bow deeply to each other when they want to play? (How polite!)
One of the funny facts is that red kites, birds of prey, like to decorate their nests with things they collect. Some have been known to steal people’s underwear off clothes lines to make their nests colorful. What if kids decorated their bedrooms with underwear?
The book is packed with fascinations, such as: What if you drank over 25 gallons of water? What if girls were in charge? What if you had to dance for your dinner? What if you walked upside down? What if your mom had a million babies?
When I finished reading, once again, I was struck by our amazing world and how many strange animals are all around, waiting for us to discover their secrets.
Although this book is rated Juvenile, grandparents will get a kick out of it as well. I see no reason What If Humans Were Like Animals? cannot be enjoyed by the whole family, elementary age and up.
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