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Book Reviews

CARNIVORES by Aaron Reynolds Illustrated by Dan Santat

CarnivoresI laughed out loud at this one!  In Carnivores Lion, Shark and TimberWolf are finding it hurtful that other animals whisper behind their backs, call them “bad kitty” and hold Little Red Riding Hood and “feeding frenzies” against them.

Coming together in a support group for Carnivores they decide the best way to avoid being treated this way by other animals is to become vegetarians.  And they try.  Without success.

Disguises are the next idea, allowing them to blend in and be included by the other animals.  Predictably, this plan also fails as none are able to maintain their disguises for very long.

With advice from the Wise Old Owl they realize that they are CARNIVORES.  That is what they were intended to be and they do not need to feel bad or ashamed of it.  They are meant to exist in this world in this particular way and that’s OK.

The text is perfectly proportioned for each page and Santat’s illustrations showcase his genius in characterization.  He brings a modern graphic novel quality to the story.  The bunnies and the TimberWolf I find particularly hilarious.

I, personally, love the slight humorous twist at the end of the story.  In my opinion it saves it from being too sappy and gives it the perfect ‘edge.’  That said, it may not be for everyone; my sense of humor tends to lean farther toward parody, absurdist (even sarcasm) than some others.

As it is I shared it with my children (ages 9 and 11) but I would still have read it with them if they were age 2 and above.  I could definitely see this being used in an elementary science life cycle lesson or one clarifying vegetarian/carnivore terms and traits.

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