When Elephants Listen with Their Feet: Discover Extraordinary Animal Senses by Emmanuelle Grundmann, illustrated by Clémence Dupont. Translation by Erin Woods. Pajama Press, 2021. 9781772781236
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? This non fiction picture book shows how animals use their senses to interact with their environment, for food, mating, defense and more. Not only do animals use the senses of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching, but also senses of magnetoception and electroreception. Each section covers one of the senses and gives examples of how various animals use that sense, why, and how it differs from humans. I learned many facts I didn’t know, such as: the golden mole has no eyes; the Atlantic herring passes gas to communicate; the salmon can smell under water; a blue whale’s tongue weighs 3 tons; and birds have no nerve endings in their feet. A section on “Superhero Animals” tells of animals that can walk on water or on the ceiling, some that can re-grow limbs and others with characteristics of comic book super heroes.
The text is conversational and informative without being didactic – I would say that this French translation is very successful. Charming realistic illustrations complement the text, and I appreciate that most of the humans in the book have non-white skin, which is rare in non fiction. There are indexes at the end, so this book can be used for elementary school animal reports. This is a great book to sample bit by bit to learn fascinating animal facts.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 8-12, especially kids who love fun animal facts.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? 573.8
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, if you are looking for a fresh source on animal senses.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: April 5, 2021