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Sunday, October 14, 2018

LOOK AT ME! : How to Attract Attention in the Animal World. By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton MIfflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2018. $24.99 ages 5 and up

"All dressed up.

Every summer, a colorful
plume of feathers appears
around the neck of the
great crested grebe.
Male and female grebes
show off this decoration
during their mating dance."

Steve Jenkins and his wife Robin Page continue to amaze with the research they do; the careful, clear facts they present on all manner of animals in our world. In this book they tell readers about animals that want to be seen.

"Perhaps it's signalling a mate or warning a predator that it is
poisonous. It might be defending its territory or trying to
lure its prey. Some animals attract attention by being noisy
or smelly. But visual display - flashing a bright color,
performing a dance, glowing in the dark, even blowing up
like a balloon - is the most common way an animal
says, "Look at me!"

Then, we are off to discover the many animals who love to make themselves known by whatever method is inherent to their own species. Each turn of the page introduces two or more animals that have one particular thing in common. The hooded seal and the magnificent frigatebird have a big red balloon, used to attract a mate. The Mediterranean mantis and the male blue-spotted mudskipper dance to threaten predators, or to impress a female.

Thirty-nine different creatures are featured in this fine book that show young readers the many ways they get the attention they seek. The descriptive paragraphs offer just the right amount of text to provide for new learning.

Steve Jenkins’ easily identifiable illustrations are colorful collages placed on white backgrounds, allowing the animal itself to be the focus of attention for those reading this book. Whether it's the brilliant plumage of the great crested grebe and the royal flycatcher, or the brilliant colors of the many poisonous frogs and slugs that grace one double page, there is much here to attract and hold attention as the book is shared.

As they do in most of their books, the authors add final pages that offer a repeated thumbnail image of each included creature, accompanied by additional relevant data.

Always beautiful, and very much admired work.

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