Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Review: Amazing Animal Friendships by Pavla Hanácková


Odd Couples in Nature
by Pavla Hanácková
Illustrated by Linh Dao
Sterling Children's Books
Informational Picture Book
36 pages
ages 5 to 9

Discover some of nature's most unikely--but valuable--friendships!

Sometimes two are better than one--that's a matter of fact, even when the pairing seems very odd! From sharks and cleaner fish, to zebras and birds, to plants and their pollinators, strange friendships in nature exist everywhere.

With bite-sized text and quirky illustrations, this fascinating book introduces children to the weird and wonderful symbiotic relationships between animal species.


Symbiotic relationships in the animal kingdom are simply fun to learn about in this quirky yet informational book.

There's a whole lot more to animals than meets the eye, especially when it comes to their relationships with other species. Big or small, animals help each other in the most amazing ways. Zebras and birds, hippos and fish, bugs and plants. . .the cooperation knows no bounds.

This book introduces young readers to the world of symbiotic relationships. Since many kids won't even know what that means, the concept is presented in a clear and easy style on the first few pages. After that, each two-page spread is devoted to a certain type of symbiotic relationship. From ants and aphids to shrimps and fish to hippos and their friends, this book covers a vast array of relationships found in nature, and it does this with pizzazz.

Each category is introduced with a quick title and followed by a short paragraph, which explains the type of help the presented creatures need and give. The rest of the page is speckled with small paragraphs, each describing a certain symbiotic relationship and the benefits it provides. These are accompanied by illustrations, which display the relationship clearly while still packing in a wonderful dose of quirky humor. To make sure the whole thing stays ordered, little arrows point to the accompanying illustration at the end of each square of text.  It's clear. It's informative. And it doesn't forget the silly fun. As an extra twist, several not so desirable relationships are pointed at as well.

The text is a little advanced for the youngest readers but kids ages five and up should feel fairly comfortable. It isn't a book to be read in one sitting but works great to flip through in spurts as interest allows. At the end of the book, a short glossary stands ready to help out with those more difficult words and an index provides a quick way to find information, which a young reader is searching for something specific. 

All in all, this is a fun book with tons of great information. There are some well known animal pairings as well as some unfamiliar ones. And it's something kids will gladly come back to time and again.

And here they are. . .

Pavla Hanackova is a writer who specializes in children’s nonfiction.

Linh Dao is a freelance illustrator and animator.

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