A survey of the many ways we and other animals use and detect odors.
In this large-format French import, lightweight flaps hide inside views, diagrams, and close-ups added to De Gastold’s whimsical scenes of expressively posed animals and (racially diverse) people sniffing air or water to track down prey or other food, identify mates or offspring, detect danger, and offer clues to migratory routes. The flap on which two seals swim beneath a thick layer of sea ice that separates them from a sniffing polar bear lifts to reveal a seal coming up for breath—right into the jaws of the bear; a pigeon-shaped flap lifts to reveal an aerial view of that pigeon sniffing its way home. Figueras explains in simple but specific language how the “high tech instruments” of creatures including dogs, sharks, elephants (“superheroes of smell”), and ants process pheromones and other odorant molecules. Readers also learn, memorably, how male giraffes smell and taste the urine of females to check out their hormone levels and male ring-tailed lemurs produce a “stomach-churning perfume” to engage in “smell battles” with rivals. These whiffs of humor lighten the informational load…though serious-minded young biologists will still prefer Mary Holland’s Animal Noses (2019), with its more naturalistic photographs. Suggested titles for further reading are limited to three British books and two in French.
A fresh, factual blast with hints of drollery. (index) (Informational novelty. 7-9)