How do the different species stack up in the seven events of the World Animal Games?
Walrus and Cockatoo are the announcers for the Olympics-like WAG competition, and like their human counterparts, they use wordplay, puns and tongue-in-cheek humor to reach their audience. Four animals compete in each contest, each depicted in four pages. Trading cards around the margins introduce their names, classes, homes, habitats and food (an introductory page lists/defines the habitats and features a large world map with continents and oceans labeled). While some winners will be easy to guess without even knowing the competitors (sprinting), others will be sure to surprise readers. The titular phrase is at the bottom of every other two-page spread, urging readers to turn the page and reveal the winner. The facing page is a look at how humans rate against these animal competitors in the same challenges (not very well). Anderson’s watercolor artwork is a mixed bag. The trading cards include a realistic portrait of each animal, but the center illustration frequently anthropomorphizes the animals and makes them look goofy—faces are not one of Anderson’s strong suits. But the weakness of the illustrations ceases to matter as readers get into the rhythm and suspense of the competition.
Children will be fascinated by some of the animals feats cataloged here and may even be curious to see how well they might do in comparison. (Informational picture book. 4-8)