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What Animal Names Can Tell You

by Keith DuQuette & illustrated by Keith DuQuette

Age Range: 2 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23445-4
Publisher: Putnam

What do a woolly monkey, a blue-tongued skink, and a zebra butterfly have in common? All have descriptive names derived from some aspect of their appearance, while other animals chosen for inclusion in this beautifully illustrated work have names descriptive of their sounds, motions, or habitats. DuQuette’s (The House Book, 1999, etc.) skillfully composed illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil often show the animals in groups by the special aspect of their names, although these animals might not live together in the wild (a howler monkey and a whooping crane, for example). This small drawback is overcome by the visual power of the highly detailed and varied animals, shown in several spreads against striking black backgrounds that show every scale and feather to great advantage. Four pages of brief factual summaries are included for the 35 animals, along with two pages of notes on 18 additional creatures, accompanied by small black-and-white illustrations. Children of all ages will enjoy the rich variety of names, and teachers will find both interesting information about specific species and a consummate lesson in descriptive nouns and compound words (roadrunner, rattlesnake, thornbug, hummingbird, and many more). Despite the profusion of nonfiction titles on every aspect of the animal world, there is only one other title in print specifically about animal names: Pam Muñoz Ryan’s A Pinky Is a Baby Mouse (1997). (Picture book/nonfiction. 2-8)