The Surprising Lives of Animals: How They Can Laugh, Play and Misbehave

by Anna Claybourne

illustrated by Stef Murphy

reviewed by Mia Macrossan

This book is bursting with fascinating facts about  animal behaviour that is sure to appeal to a young inquiring mind.

In five chapters Claybourne uses  familiar and some not so familiar examples to  describe how animals live their lives. She shows how animals have fun, play, and make friends.

The chapter headed thinking and feeling explains that animals can be sad or happy, how they solve problems, and learn and remember.

The book shows how animals communicate, work together and sometimes fight. The final chapter is about settling down, making a home, finding a partner and being a parent.

In other  words this book highlights all the many ways in which animals are similar in needs, wants and behaviours to ourselves.

This informative book is copiously illustrated in full colour with excellent labels and headings to help understanding.

The language is straightforward and easy for young reader to understand. And yes, there are quite a few surprising facts included.

The  glossary at the end is thorough  and  the page of excellent suggestions for further reading arranged under appealing headings is a real bonus.

I really like the regular scientist spotlight which focuses on someone who has made a significant contribution to our understanding of animal behaviour. Some are very famous, for example David Attenborough and Jane Goodall and others not so well known such as Konrad Lorenz and Irene Pepperberg.

Reading this book together with a child or on your own will certainly increase your brain power and most importantly your understanding and empathy for all the fascinating creatures with which we share the planet.

Recommended for school or home library.

Ivy Press  2020 $24.99 48 pages Age 7 – 11 ISBN 9781782408161

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