BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Who Are You Calling Weird?: A Celebration of Weird & Wonderful Animals (Available here)
Author: Marilyn Singer
Illustrators: Paul Daviz
Publisher: words & pictures
Publication Date: October 2018
Most Suitable for: Years 2-4
Reviewed By: Tim Dunford, Class Teacher
This beautifully illustrated non-fiction book is written by a real animal lover, revelling in the weird and wonderful. It is an eclectic mix of creatures and each one is given a double page with fascinating facts and descriptions that celebrate their uniqueness. The aim is to make us humans understand that "weird is just another word for wondrous" and it certainly does that. For example, did you know that a three-toed sloth can hold its breath for up to forty minutes?
There are twenty-one different creatures covered in total and the illustrations really bring them to life. The layout of each page is eye-catching and the text always works around the picture to make the animal the star of the page. Typically, a non-fiction animal book would be full of photos but here the bright artwork compliments the informal, chatty and humorous style of writing. For these reasons, this book would make a great read for a child who does not usually choose non-fiction. It would also be a good book to accompany topics on animals and is probably best for Years 2-4 but would work well with older children and is an excellent starting point to research and explore the animals in more detail.
Throughout the book, there are gentle reminders that many of these creatures are in danger and need protection because of various threats to them (directly or indirectly). The book doesn't "preach" but showcases the amazing range of wildlife on Earth and why it is important to preserve it. As an interesting twist, humans are the final "weird" animal to be in the spotlight. Many of our behaviours and attributes would be considered odd by other animals but the book concludes that it is our brain that really sets us humans apart. This is the same brain that allows us to "choose to learn about these creatures and why they deserve to live here too."
Curriculum links: Science, nature, habitats, the environment
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Tim for reviewing it.