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Saturday, October 17, 2015

How To Swallow a Pig: Step by Step Guide From the Animal Kingdom, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2015. $24.50 all ages

"The tailorbird gets its
name from the ingenious
way it makes the nest.
A female tailorbird
constructs the nest, but
her male companion may
help her collect material
for it. Here's how it's

THEY HAVE GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN! Steve Jenkins and Robin Page continue to make books that astound and inspire young readers with an interest in the natural world. I am delighted to tell you about this most recent one.

If you want to know the step-by-step process that the tailorbird uses, you might just have to get your hands on this glorious new book from the husband-and-wife team who ask the best questions, and then answer them. When it comes to encouraging us to be always learning, they do so by sharing an abundance of knowledge that we didn't know we wanted to know.

"... there are lots of other
useful techniques you can
master. After all, you never know
when you might need to spin
a web. disguise yourself as a
jellyfish, battle a sheep, or catch
a wildebeest. Just take it slow,
and remember: practice makes

They make the learning so much fun. In this book we discover more than a dozen animals and how they find food, build homes, repel pests, attract a mate, protect themselves from detection, warn of danger, put up a defence, and even swallow a pig for heaven's sake! The instructions are clearly stated in a numbered method. The exceptional cut paper collage artwork is classic Jenkins fare, and the touch of humor ensures absoluteinterest in how animals of the world do such things.

Kids and their adults are going  to love all that is shared here, including these simple steps:

"1. Hide.
Lie quietly, perhaps draped
over the branch of a tree.
2. Wait ...
If you are patient, a wild pig
or other large animal might
wander by. Look, here
comes one now!
3. Attack!
This is your chance.
Lunge at your victim and
grab it with our sharp,
backwards-pointing fangs.
Quickly wrap your coils
around its body.
4. Squeeze.
Squeeze hard. Soon the
pig won't be able to take a
breath, and it will suffocate.
5. Swallow.
Unhinge your jaw (this t
takes practice). Starting
with the head, begin to
work the pig down your
6. Rest.
Once the pig is completely
swallowed, take a nap. You
won't have to eat again for
several months."

And that is 'how to swallow a pig'!

In back matter, this team adds a paragraph of pertinent further information about each of the animals included, a bibliography and an invitation to learn even more at


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