A tribute to underappreciated animals of all kinds.
Kids love pandas and elephants, big cats and great white sharks. But how many know about the naked mole rat or the western fence lizard? Dedicated to children experiencing bullying (“what others see as a weakness may actually be your strength”), Stewart’s latest focuses on some of nature’s most underrated creatures. One double-page spread highlights one or two animals that share a particular feature: size, smell, speed, appearance, energy level, etc. The following double-page spread gives an overview of the ways that trait helps them survive in the wild. The book covers animals both familiar, such as koalas and walruses, and more unusual, like hoatzins and the skunklike zorilla. Stewart’s narrative voice is casual and peppy: “Let’s start with this little critter—the Etruscan pygmy shrew. / It’s a real pipsqueak. Look, its name is longer than its body.” Laberis’ digitally rendered illustrations are warm and dynamic, simultaneously silly and realistic—a perfect match for the text and topic. Relatively minimal information about each animal is provided, but it’s enough to spark interest for further exploration. Backmatter includes “More About the Underdogs” and a list of selected sources.
Friendly and approachable, this compendium is sure to create some new favorites in the animal kingdom. (Informational picture book. 4-8)