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SLAP, SQUEAK & SCATTER by Steve Jenkins

SLAP, SQUEAK & SCATTER

How Animals Communicate

By Steve Jenkins (Author) , Steve Jenkins (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-03376-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Jenkins, whose art can be seen in his own and others’ books on natural themes, here provides an introduction to the ways animals communicate, with brief text and full-color torn- and cut-paper collages. Jenkins notes: “Animals send messages with sounds, visual signals, and touch. They use odors and chemical messages, create vibrations in the ground, or even light up to communicate with others of their kind.” Handsome animal collages show some animals full-figure and others in close-up, including bats, wolves, cats, klipspringer (a kind of antelope), blue-footed boobies, and whales. The crushed-paper collages—the illustrator’s trademark—are appealing, but colors in this title are subdued, and the layouts frequently place disparate animals on the left and right page, making this title less useful for display. For example, the left panel shows two blue-footed boobies in a mating dance, while the right page shows an orb-web spider. Most successful are those layouts that capture the act of communicating, for example the two wolves, one cowering and submissive as the other snarls, or the cat rubbing up against a person’s pant leg. For the most part, though, communication is hard to show. A humpback whale swims, but how do we know it’s singing? The viewer can’t see the elephant’s rumbling stomach or the dolphin’s whistling. While the title will provide a first look at animal communication, it is not as successful as Jenkins’s previous efforts. (Nonfiction. 8-10)