Kirkus Reviews

What do a woolly monkey, a blue-tongued skink, and a zebra butterfly have in common? All have descriptive names derived from some aspect of their appearance, while other animals chosen for inclusion in this beautifully illustrated work have names descriptive of their sounds, motions, or habitats. DuQuette's (The House Book, 1999, etc.) skillfully composed illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil often show the animals in groups by the special aspect of their names, although these animals might not live together in the wild (a howler monkey and a whooping crane, for example). This small drawback is overcome by the visual power of the highly detailed and varied animals, shown in several spreads against striking black backgrounds that show every scale and feather to great advantage. Four pages of brief factual summaries are included for the 35 animals, along with two pages of notes on 18 additional creatures, accompanied by small black-and-white illustrations. Children of all ages will enjoy the rich variety of names, and teachers will find both interesting information about specific species and a consummate lesson in descriptive nouns and compound words (roadrunner, rattlesnake, thornbug, hummingbird, and many more). Despite the profusion of nonfiction titles on every aspect of the animal world, there is only one other title in print specifically about animal names: Pam Mu–oz Ryan's A Pinky Is a Baby Mouse (1997). (Picture book/nonfiction. 2-8)

Children's Literature

In simple language, a few phrases per double page, DuQuette calls attention to the wealth of information available in just the names of many creatures. They can reveal where the animal lives or roosts, how it moves, what sounds it makes, what it eats, or what it looks like. This visual introduction to many life forms is supplemented with more factual information at the end, where many other "revealing animal names" are detailed, along with sketches. In the tradition of natural history painters, the animals are shown in action in some native setting?the mountain goat high up overlooking distant peaks and a far-off river, the woolly monkey on a branch in a leafy bower and so forth. Without being photographic, the illustrations convey a lot of information along with emotional the content. 2002, G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8.
-Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-The African elephant, the blue-tongued skink, and the zebra butterfly are among the numerous creatures whose different traits are revealed by their popular names. This simple survey begins with the proposition that there's much to discover in an animalŐs name. Many possibilities are posed in single pages or double-spread views. Some creatures are named for how they move around, some for their habitat, some for their unique features. Informative color portraits group these beings on plain backgrounds or show them in their habitat. Concluding pages revisit each one with a quick set of facts about its size, behavior, and country of habitation. Finally, 18 additional animals with interesting names are introduced, accompanied by black-and-white sketches. The concept is simple and appealing, and children will marvel at the names and the variety.
-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.


Ages 5-9. There's nothing random about what we call animals, says DuQuette, author of Hotel Animal (1994) and The House Book (1999). In his latest, he invites children to learn something about a species just by paying attention to its names. DuQuette's handsome, realistically detailed illustrations pair with brief examples of names that give information about an animal's habitat ("polar bear"), how it moves ("grasshopper"), what it sounds like ("howler monkey"), and so on. Unusual species are included along with familiar ones, which will please animal fans eager to learn more, and a concluding section offers additional information on each species. Quirky and informative, this offers a satisfying combination of wordplay and breezy animal facts for zoologists in the making.
-Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

© Keith DuQuette 2010