I was kindly sent a free copy of this book by the publisher Walker Books for a review. This is a non-fiction book aimed at kids and teaches all about some bad (and funny) animal behaviour, here is my review.
Humans like to think they are the smartest creatures on the planet, but sometimes animals manage to outsmart humans and get away with some very bad behaviour. This book tells the true stories of five different animals behaving badly.
This is a very short book at just over 100 pages and is aimed at kids though older will enjoy it too. The book starts off with an introduction by the author Nicola Davies which highlights just how clever animals are and how humans are the worst behaved creatures on the planet, before five different chapters talk about five different animals and what sort of behaviour they get up to.
The introduction, and to be honest the whole book, wasn’t quite what I was expecting given the blurb and the cover. I thought this would be a very funny book talking about some funny mischievous animals and while the book does have funny moments it’s narrative is very different from what I expected. The book and especially the introduction explains how destructive humans are on the whole towards animals and their environment and although it has a great message I just wasn’t expecting something so serious given the description. The chapters are short and each focus on a different animal type such as the wolverine, kea birds, monkeys, etc.. Each chapter is filled with lots of information and some funny stories of the different things animals have done such as stealing food, babies and as, yes, as the cover shows…farting fish! Every chapter is filled with lots of humour and I especially love the chapter on what kea birds get up to.
The book has some great and funny black and white illustrations every few pages. These are just like the ones on the front cover and look more like cartoon images and really highlight the humour found in some of the text. The last pages of the book also focus more on animals and humans working together in some extraordinary ways which was fun to read.
Overall I do like this book. I think the conservation and mini history lessons in this are important ones to teach kids and I’m sure children will enjoy reading the book and learning all about this stuff as well as finding out some of the daft and silly things that animals have gotten away with. However I do think the cover and description of the book are a bit misleading. The information in this book isn’t as funny as I would have thought and it just didn’t grab my attention as much as I wanted it to. I just feel a bit disappointed after reading this book, however knowing it’s true contents I’d still have loved reading this when I was younger.
Author’s website: http://www.nicola-davies.com/
From award-winning children’s author and biologist Nicola Davies, this is a collection of funny, fascinating and true stories about animals “behaving badly” – which is to say, getting the better of us human beings! We start with the wolverine in Canada, who will trash your home and everything in it, and then meet the kea in New Zealand – park your car in kea country, and you’ll find out the hard way that these clever birds have sharp beaks and a love of mischief. Next we visit India and learn about macaque monkeys, who have shoplifting, highway robbery and baby-snatching on their impressive rap sheet, before jetting off to the US. In Florida we find drumfish, whose strange humming calls will keep you up all night long, and in Alaska Sitka whales, who gang up to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of cod from under the noses of fishermen. The book ends on a charming high, as Nicola describes two creatures that work together with humans: little brown birds that help us collect honey in East Africa, and bottlenose dolphins that help fishermen catch mullet in Brazil. With lively illustrations from rising talent Adam Stower, Animals Behaving Badly is a splendidly witty and original take on narrative non-fiction for younger readers.