Courtship, mating, birth, and child rearing are common across the animal world, but the details can be surprising.
The German creators of Tell Me: What Children Really Want To Know About Bodies, Sex, and Emotions (2020) return with this collection of intriguing facts about animal reproduction, which might be termed a book of carnal knowledge for middle-grade and middle school readers. Sex-educator von der Gathen organizes her material into three major subjects: courting, mating, and babies. Subdivisions within each section group examples of the wide array of techniques adopted by different species. For example, seduction includes showy appearances, dances, attractive smells, songs, and battles with rivals. Each example describes the activities of a single species in a paragraph or two of exposition, delivered in a cheerful, informal tone, smoothly translated, and illustrated with an amusing cartoon of the animals described. Each section also includes pages of illustrated comparisons, with helpful labels. One set shows a variety of mating positions; another spotlights “ingenious genitalia”; there are animal babies. Examples include both vertebrates and invertebrates. Readers can make human connections, but the writer doesn’t. What she does do is to demonstrate the wonder of species reproduction as well as her respect for her audience with frankness and good humor. They will find it irresistible in tone and content.
Full of fascinating answers to the question “How do animals do it?”(index) (Nonfiction. 8-15)