Fauna are used to teach children about analogies.
Each spread presents readers with a phrase, “this is to this, as that is to that,” accompanied by illustrations emphasizing that relationship. “Beaver is to build, as spider is to spin.” From the tiniest ants to the mightiest lions, animals of all sorts are compared by size, sound, way they move and how they are classified. Most are solid analogies, although Berkes sometimes sacrifices word choices to make verses rhyme, and the analogies suffer. A few are not quite pathetic—“Rabbit is to nibble, as skunk is to dig”—and several seem to be worded backwards: “Amphibian is to frog as mammal is to moose.” Extensive backmatter encourages readers to further explore analogies with questions and activities that lead them to think creatively about the ways in which the animals were compared in the text. Morrison’s artwork is detailed and realistic, especially when it comes to the smaller species, each feather, fin and hair standing out in relief, though the pictures do not always fully illustrate distinctions.
Flawed, but it fills a niche that is otherwise almost empty. (Informational picture book. 4-8)