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Friday, March 7, 2014

What's YOUR Favorite Animal? Eric Carle and Friends. Henry Holt, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"I like the snail.

You may find her (or him)
a little ugly - too squishy.
But all her life she works
at her craft, adding to it
day by day until, when she
dies, she leaves us something
of great beauty.

Chris Raschka"

If you read a book about animals to young children, they are likely to ask if you have a favorite one. It is an oft-heard question. In this book, 14 familiar and much-loved illustrators answer that same question for us. They are listed alphabetically on the front cover; their answers are randomly placed within the pages of this most entertaining and beautiful book.

It begins with Eric Carle, as it should. All royalties from the book will be donated to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Check it out at if you want to know more about this truly amazing facility. Mr. Carle's favorite animal is a cat. He favored cats at a very early age, despite an apparent allergy. This particular cat is named Fiffi, and she lived with the artist in New York. His story is charming and obviously, memorable.

With every page turn, a double page spread allows a look at the artist's rendering of their own favorite animal. They vary in form, as do the accompanying notes. They include sketches, panelled stories, even carefully drawn realistic drawings of the chosen animal. They might of be a memory, an imagined creature, a beloved pet, or just plain fun. Their approach to the images drawn allows us a bit of a look at each artist's personality.

Here is a list of the contributors: Eric Carle, Nick Bruel, Lucy Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sís, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems. Brilliant! 

I know you will be as impressed as I am with this fine new collection.             


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