Over 100 wild animals describe their jobs in human terms.
As a useful premise or even a viable conceit, this is an abject failure as nonfiction. Giving all 112 creatures introduced here different occupations, Hunt misleads with artificial cognates: the hyena tells readers: “I am a comedian”; the porcupine announces: “I am an acupuncturist.” One- or two-sentence explanatory notes often muddy the waters further: “I laugh hysterically to show how important I am in the group,” the hyena says. Moreover, an opening assertion that in nature animals help “their neighbors to have better lives,” coupled with a scarcity of specific references thereafter to predators and prey, is just disingenuous…as is a claim later on that indigenous species in the Hawaiian Islands and those that were introduced more recently, such as the Indian mongoose (shown here robbing a bird’s nest), “work side by side.” The collectively produced cartoon illustrations (“Muti” is a studio) feature both individual portraits and ensemble views of each animal, generally smiling, in one of 14 relatively specific habitats, from the “Kenyan savanna in Africa” to a Washington state backyard (where honeybees are inaccurately housed in a paper-wasps’ nest).
An ill-conceived exercise in anthropomorphism. (index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)