Saturday, July 30, 2011

But Can I Tease A Weasel! Never Smile at a Monkey by Steve Jenkins

And a final word of advice:

NEVER smile at a monkey

But monkeys are funny! Why not smile at their antics?

Noted author-illustrator Steve Jenkins' Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember (Houghton Mifflin) has the answer:

If you smile at a rhesus (ree-sus) monkey, it may interpret your show of teeth as an aggressive gesture and respond violently!

Jenkins' latest arresting picture book combines wonderful paper collage illustrations reminiscent of Eric Carle with nature lore about some of the world's exotic and intriguing animals. Never pat a platypus? It is nature's only poisonous mammal, equipped with spurs spouting venom on its hind legs. Never jostle a jellyfish? Most jellyfish can sting, but the box jellyfish's sting can be swiftly deadly. Never caress an electric caterpillar? Its hairy bristles can induce severe illness and death. And NEVER swim with a squid. Especially if it's a Humboldt squid. Why? Yikes! You don't want to know!

In appealingly alliterated advice to the wildlife novice, Jenkins' beautiful full- and double-page spreads impart information about some of the world's rare and not-so-rare animals. Luckily, most of these animals--the cassowary, spitting cobra, cane toad, and cone shell--live far from our shores and aren't a threat in our daily lives--except for the tang, a favorite aquarium fish which is equipped with slashing spines. So if a tang flops out on the floor, don't try to pick him up with bare fingers! Never touch a tang! Many--the hippopotamus and kangaroo--are usually safe inside zoo enclosures where we can't even think of harassing or confronting them, so most of Jenkins' readers can be informed but need not be worried. (And you Aussies already know about cassowaries and cone shells and the like, right, mates?)

Jenkins offers a very informative afterword which explains why nature equips animals to find food and fend off predators. Each featured animal is shown in the order presented in the main text with an explanation of its behavior in the wild. For early elementary nature study, this short and irresistible book is a natural, imparting information while delighting the eye and inspiring wonder at the natural world.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home