'Why Don't Fish Drown and other vital questions about the animal kingdom' is a treasure trove of fascinating facts about animals presented succinctly and with humour.
The book is organised into 22 thought provoking questions- which cover a range of topics. The contents is very helpful in identifying the focus of each question underneath, clarifying some of the more obscure ones! These are, however, the very questions a child (or an adult!) might want answered and make for absorbing reading!
The book starts with the question 'What is an animal anyway?' and then considers how long they have been around and what types there are before moving on to classification. Anna Claybourne explains the system with great clarity- very useful for year 6 when tackling this area of science. Did you know Beyonce has a species of fly named after her? I wonder how she feels about that!
There is so much to discover and learn on each page. Horses get sweaty all over, but most other animals have a few sweat glands. Animals don't need to brush their teeth, but hippos let fish pick the dirt and bugs out from around their teeth. an alligator's tummy button is a patch of smaller scales, showing where it was connected to its egg.
Lovely photographs and lively illustrations add to each page and there are also copies of relevant works of art which show pictures of the animals being discussed which I particularly liked. Eadweard Muybridge's 'Horse in Motion' and 'Tipu's Tiger' for example offer further opportunities for discussion and research.
A comprehensive glossary at the back of the book helps to explain the scientific vocabulary used in the text. This is a really fascinating read, beautifully presented and well written, which would make an excellent introduction to the animal kingdom for those with a special interest as well as the perfect book to dip in and out of as the fancy takes!
Why Don't Fish Drown? and other vital questions about the animal kingdom
Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Claire Goble
Thames and Hudson ISBN: 978-0500651261