Simon, Seymour. Animals Nobody Loves. New York: Sea Star Books, 2001. ISBN: 1587170809
This rich photo essay portrays twenty “unlovable” animals including the shark, hyena, rat, fire ant, and piranha. Popular science writer, Seymour Simon seeks to expose myths of animals with bad reputations and hopes readers will have more understanding and respect of the animals. Most photos cover more than a page and are up close, colorful and beautiful.
Although some argue that the information provided is brief, I would say that is okay. The book is meant as survey, providing interesting facts showing either the good the animal does or what to do if you encounter one. However, Simon does not cite sources. Even though he is a prolific science writer, a bibliography would give credibility to the facts. Many of the animal photographs have a “gross-factor” and some are graphic showing prey so very young readers may be bothered.
Most children love animal books and even though these aren’t the ones most popularly written about, children will still find it a fascinating book. I love that the very end of the book encourages critical thinking and more reading.
KIRKUS REVIEWS: “While the eyeballs-to-eyeballs cover of a tarantula in full color will keep readers reaching for the title, it is useful for browsing rather than research.”
BOOKLIST: “There’s no question this will look great on display, but it will serve kids best when it’s presented with more fact-rich natural histories.”
*As a writing assignment, have students do what the end of the books suggests, “Perhaps you might make your own list of animals that you don’t love and think about why each of these animals is on your list.”
*Classify the twenty animals in the book.
*Show students with this book that it is okay to not read non-fiction cover-to-cover. Encourage them to read only about the animals they find interesting.
*Since the information provided is not in-depth, have students select an animal and research it more fully.
*Include the book for browsing in an animal unit.
*Simon’s website is http://www.seymoursimon.com/