A metafictive look at animal classification.
Segal-Walters' narrator “thinks she’s in charge” of her presentation of characteristics of different animals and animal groups, but she is one-upped by illustrator Biggs, who uses ink, crayon, and digital color to add Post-it notes and comments. His illustrations are quirky and funny. Introducing her subject, the narrator says, “If the cat laid an egg… / it would be a hen.” The surprise on the egg-laying cat’s face is mirrored by the expressions of the hen he adds. He has his own opinions about what should be pictured and how. When the narrator says that a frog that made honey would be a bee, he plays with images of a “bee-frog,” or “brog.” His snake is not a garter snake with a simple stripe but wildly colorful—and still sporting bees’ wings. He doesn’t want to draw a blobfish at all, producing instead an unforgettable photograph. Such silliness will probably appeal to young readers and listeners tired of more-traditional narratives, and the parade of animals (cat, hen, frog, bee, snake, shark, sunfish, gerenuk, and the aforementioned blobfish) will surprise. Both text and backmatter convey some essential traits of mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, reptiles, and fish. But even in the backmatter the illustrator has the last word, telling readers that fish “like to ride bikes after school.”
Entertaining and even educational. (Picture book. 3-7)