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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Carnivores, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"The lion tries to ignore it when the gazelles whisper behind his back. He pretends not to see the zebras looking down their noses at him. The wildebeests call him "bad kitty" just because he's eaten half the neighborhood.
It hurts.
It really does."

I've been thinking that August is passing too quickly, and soon the kids will be back at school. Up until now, I've been enjoying summer and the lazy, hazy, crazy days! Today, I'm hoping that someone will invite me into the classroom so that I can read this soon as school starts! If I miss anything in retirement, it's the joy of sharing books that students and teachers have likely not heard, and wanting to watch their faces as each new one is introduced and shared. This one begs to be read aloud, with feeling and repetition. It's a 'ten', Erin!

If you read Creepy Carrots (Simon & Schuster, 2012) or have seen Sidekicks (Scholastic, 2012), you will have some sense of anticipation for a book that combines the incredible writing talent of Aaron Reynolds and the bold, hilarious artistry of Dan Santat. Now, add a zany sense of humor from both, and you get a cracking good story to share.

It seems nobody has any regard for the plight of the great white shark, the lion or the timber wolf. No one sees their innate good nature, or understands how hurt their feelings are by the attitudes and misconceptions that dog their days:

"So it was just a matter of time before the lion, the great white shark, and the timber wolf started hanging out. Because even carnivores need to share their feelings."

Any attempt at being other than who they are has devastating results. The wolf finds rabbits in every berry bush. The great white shark thinks takeout when he sees a pod of dolphins. Salad leaves and bark get caught in the lion's teeth. There seems no solution to the bad rap they get!

Luckily, a sage horned owl is an expert at giving soul-saving advice:

"It used to hurt my feelings, too.
But now I remind myself...I'm not bad. I'm a carnivore.
Eating meat is just what I do."

Again, everything I tell you pales in comparison to the real thing. So, get to the library, your local bookstore, or go online and get yourself a copy. You will be as anxious as I am to share it with anyone who will listen!

Now, here's Dan Santat to tell you a little more about it:

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