Friday, October 16, 2015

Animal Partners

Animal Partners
by Scotti Cohn; illus. by Shennen Bersani
32 pages; ages 4-8
Arbordale, 2015

themes: animals, nature

It's hard to choose "opening lines" in a book filled with poems about animal partnerships. But here's an example of one:

Behold the wily crocodile.
Who will scrub his pointy smile?  

This book is a collection of poems that examine partnerships between animals. Usually, animals hang out with others of their kind. But sometimes one species associates with another if there's something to be gained. The crocodile mentioned above allows a small bird to hop into its mouth and clean between his teeth. In another poem, a sea turtle laments the barnacle attached to its shell, while another investigates a partnership between warthogs and mongooses.

What I like about this book: The poems are fun, short, and snappy. And the author explores different poetic forms. I like that there's backmatter: the author describes different types of symbiosis and gives examples of each kind from the text. There's a "match the animal partners" game and a "name the habitat" challenge. But I wish there was a page that described the different creatures. Especially the pseudoscorpion, a tiny arthropod I've come to know.

Beyond the Book:
Investigate how animals living in your area relate to other animals. Maybe you have birds that flock together and understand each others' alarm calls. Maybe you have wood ticks that suck blood from your dog (parasitism). Maybe you have some pseudoscorpions in your very own house, waiting to hitch a ride on a fly.

Write a poem or a song about animals that help each other out.

Can animals have partnerships with plants? Think of some cases where that might happen, like a bee pollinating a certain kind of flower, or a plant that depends on a bird or other animal to disperse its seeds.

Learn more about the animals mentioned in the book. Check out this video of barnacles eating. Or this one of warthogs and mongooses.

Today's review is part of the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. We're also joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from publisher.


  1. Symbiotic animal relationships are a great source for picture book stories so it is nice seeing them represented in poetic form like this.

  2. Symbiosis is a funky sort of friendship, I love spotting egrets chillin' with cows in a field near my parents house.

  3. We enjoy reading books with a lot of different elements. Sounds like a flexible beginning with a variety of poems. That's fun for Enzo and for me.

  4. This book sounds right up my alley (in fact I have a similar draft in my files. Sigh) I will definitely check it out. :)

  5. This sounds terrific. I hope I can read it one day, but none of the libraries around here have it. Thanks for telling me about it.