Animal Sense

Animal Sense


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375823848
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 02/11/2003
Pages: 48
Product dimensions: 5.36(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.47(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Diane Ackerman is the bestselling author of over 20 books of poetry and nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses, Cultivating Delight, and Deep Play, which was also illustrated by Peter Sís.
Peter Sís has written and illustrated numerous books for children, including Tibet: Through the Red Box and Starry Messenger, both of which received a Caldecott Honor.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt



An alligator, for example,
has a skin chock-full of dimples and puckers wrinkled like a blouse.
Do not invite one to your house.
He may grow cold and use his wiles to con you with his fixed smiles.

Never lend him your best sweater,
though he may sing an operetta about being cold-blooded, or perform a hula dance just to keep warm.

He knows a blanket of tiny marsh flowers will keep him toasty, or he can bask for hours on the riverbank with one leg dangling his tail in shade and his snout angling up until he finds the perfect spot –
not too cold and not too hot.
I suppose he could carry the sun in a flask,
and he would if he could, but it's easier to bask,


Penguin babies,
on the other hand (or wing),
will cozy up to almost anything summery and snug preferring Mom's tummy,
but a human hand or rug also feels yummy.

Frantic for a big, smothery featherbed cuddle,
they sometimes wobble around in a chilly muddle,
gawking everywhere for their next of kin. '
'Hug me!'' they squawk.
I need wings to snooze in.''

Then while the antarctic night blusters and blows and rainbow-bright auroras glow,
the air plunges to 40 below.
But penguin babies keep warm they peep songs of summer and nuzzle in deep,
waltzing through their ice palace on Mama's feet.


The real masters of touch are not grabby monkeys
(who do love to clutch),
not turtles, who find a shell-scratch sublime, not cockroaches,
whose belly-fingers can climb,
not snails (who have such slimy sensitive feet),
not silky-pouched kangaroos,
mice, or jellyfish,
not leapsome gazelles or lions acting kittenish,
not even animals like squids that squish.

No, it's prairie dogs,
termites, anteaters. and such-
animals that dip for a living,
in darkness, through dirt,
and are constantly giving pinches to some,
rubs and twealks to others.
That's why the star-nosed mole
(who always wears a glove on his nose)
feels everything overmuch and has dirty cheeks but a dainty sense of touch.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Animal Sense 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So quirky and witty that you won't realize you're learning something. Really first-rate kids'poetry as well, right up there with Shel Silverstein, and like Silverstein, adults will enjoy it too.