Sad Animal Facts

Sad Animal Facts

by Brooke Barker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250095084
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 79,192
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 5.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Brooke Barker is an author and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon. This is her first book.

Read an Excerpt

Sad Animal Facts

By Brooke Barker

Flatiron Books

Copyright © 2016 Brooke Barker
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09509-1


"May you be a friend to every creature" was my grandmother's creepy inscription in the Animal Babies book she gave me the day I was born.

I wanted her words to be prophetic, but my parents wouldn't let me have any pets and the nearest wilderness was annoyingly far away from our apartment complex in a Toronto suburb. So I settled for a childhood spent reading everything I could about animals.

What I learned wasn't always pretty. Just because our four-legged friends are soft and cute and often have amazing abilities doesn't mean they aren't also incredibly sad. Everyone knows that pigs are pink and have curly tails, but did you know that they can't see the sky? Sea turtles are majestic, but did you know that they never meet their parents, or that octopi don't have friends, jellyfish have no hearts, and zebras can't fall asleep alone? Animals, it turns out, are just as complicated and conflicted as we are.

I couldn't stop reading about those sad little animals. I was obsessed. In third grade I had to leave a birthday party after a horrible run-in with a hive of honeybees. "Every one of these stings is a bee that died," I informed my friend's mom as she drove me home from the last party I got invited to that year.

A few summers ago, at the end of an uneventful seven-hour whale-watching cruise (we saw zero whales), our captain apologized to us for the hundredth time while we stared at a part of the ocean that looked like all the other parts of the ocean. I thought about how, if a whale sings at the wrong frequency, he can't find any other whales because they can't hear his off-key song. His whole life is a failed whale-watching trip.

The more I learned about animals, the harder it was for me to keep quiet about them. A few years ago I was a reference librarian. It's not as thrilling as it sounds. It was a pretty slow job in a quiet place, and I passed a lot of the time by drawing animals on the backs of old card catalog slips. Each of my coworkers would suggest an animal at the end of their shift, and I'd draw it on the back of a catalog slip and leave it in the break room at the end of the day. I'd try to go out of my way to add to the drawing some new piece of knowledge about the animal (king cobras can spit venom nine feet), and they'd try to go out of their way to request animals I'd never heard of (monkfish, indri lemurs).

The more I read, the harder it is not to see these animals talking and complaining about their lives the way we do. The giraffe baby that falls six feet the moment it's born must think, "This is already off to a bad start," and worms with nine hearts must wish they only had someone to love.

There is a sad fact for every animal on earth, from fish and reptiles to cetaceans (marine mammals) and pinnipeds (a fancy word for seals and their cousins). There are animals that eat their own tails, that can't recognize their face in a mirror, and that force themselves to cry.

I hope this book doesn't force you to cry, and I hope it brings you closer to an animal in your life. Animals can use all the friends they can get. Sometimes they use them for food.


Excerpted from Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker. Copyright © 2016 Brooke Barker. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
About the Author,

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Sad Animal Facts 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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