Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Amazing Animal Friendships by Pavla Hanackova and Linh Dao

I completely forgot to mention that I'm planning to make this a Children's Week in my Monday Malarkey post, yesterday. This is Post #1 for Children's Week. More to come!

Amazing Animal Friendships by Pavla Hanackova and Linh Dao is a book about animals and plants that have symbiotic/companion relationships, like clownfish and anemones (anemones protect clownfish; clownfish keep the anemones clean), aphids and ants (aphids share nectar with ants; ants protect the aphids), truffles/fungi and the root systems of trees, etc. It also mentions a few similar but harmful or parasitic relationships.

I love the clear, cheerful illustrations in Amazing Animal Friendships and found the information extremely interesting. It's meant for ages 5-9 and there are a few words that I thought children might not understand. Fortunately, there's a small glossary in the back of the book that explains some of those words (one of which I didn't know, myself).

My only complaint about the book is that it's a bit "busy". However, that's also handled well. I'm easily overwhelmed visually, as is one of my children, but in this case the descriptions have helpful arrows, so that it's clear which illustration goes with which description. And, it only took one page of reading before I understood the right way to read the book (top to bottom, left page then right -- similar books are often read across the page spread from left to right and then down, so that's important to know). One of my children loved books that keep your eyes moving, so the busy look won't be a concern for everyone.

American readers should be aware that there are a few British terms, like "ladybird" instead of "ladybug", but nothing that can't be easily looked up online if you're not already familiar with them.

Recommended - A fascinating read with lots of information I don't recall ever reading much about anywhere else (although I did know about companion plants from gardening). I especially recommend Amazing Animal Friendships for nature-loving children.

Side note: I read Amazing Animal Friendships just before we left for vacation in South Africa, so it was fresh in my mind when I saw a few of those relationships at work, most notably birds on the backs of large animals, as you see in the cover illustration.

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  1. Looks cute, and informative. I wonder if there's some 'animal friendships' in there that would be new to me?

    1. There were plenty I hadn't heard about! I found it surprising.

  2. It would be interesting to read this one to a kid and see if it held their attention.

    1. I'm sure it would depend on the individual. My youngest son is the one who didn't like "busy" books but he was also my nature lover and I think he would definitely have been fascinated (as a younger child) by the relationships between animals. Eldest . . . hard to say. He wasn't overwhelmed by too many images on a page and he liked learning factoids about everything. But, he wasn't big on nature. Still, I think they both would have enjoyed it.


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