A talent show of dangerous animals misses the mark in so many ways.
Parading before a panel of quaking human judges, a paltry 10 contestants for the titular trophy flash fangs, teeth or other weapons. They do so in closely cropped painted portraits that—except for the slavering, charging Cape buffalo—fail to deliver any sense of menace, motion or even size. The animals’ own statements are equally unimpressive, ranging from the saltwater crocodile’s obscure, “When a person or animal comes by, I explode from the water and drown him,” to the great white shark’s unconvincing “I have 3,000 teeth that bite really hard.” The “winner” turns out to be the mosquito, which (a judge awkwardly explains) “because of its blood-sucking spreads the most sickness and death in the entire animal kingdom.” Neither the main text nor the enrichment quizzes and other material at the back and online elaborate on this baldly stated claim.
Children are in no danger of encountering detailed information about animal offenses and defenses, or even a thrill or two, from this quick wash of generalities. (map) (Informational picture book. 6-8)