Review: What Animals Really Like by Fiona Robinson

what animals really like

What Animals Really Like by Fiona Robinson

Mr. Herbert Timberteeth is happy to present his new song that he composed, “What Animals Like Most.”  He will also be conducting it, just open the red curtains and… There are groups of animals on stage who flatly deliver, “We are lions, and we like to prowl.  We are wolves, and we like to howl.  We are pigeons, and we like to coo.  We are cows and we like to…”  Turn the page to have the chaos begin as the cows change the obvious rhyme into something else entirely.  Best of all, you can tell from the animals’ faces that they are up to something.  They are the only ones on stage grinning.  The same is true of the next grouping.  Children will get the joke immediately when the first rhyme is missed. Finally, Herbert, now bedraggled, allows them to sing the new and non-rhyming version of the song.  He hates it, but the audience has a very different reaction.

Robinson has tapped into a kind of humor that children enjoy.  The unexpected happening when you think you have the structure pegged.  Children will be relaxed and ready for the rhyme to come next.  In fact, they will probably announce that first rhyme before you get the page turned.  Their reaction will be that much better if they do!  The unexpectedness of this entire book is a great treat.

The illustrations are also fun.  Keep an eye out for all of the small touches.  My favorite is where the show is lit by glowworms, and if you look closely one of them has fallen asleep and is no longer lit.  But there are many to enjoy, making this a book that can be read again and again.

This is a definite read-aloud pick for any preschool story time.  It would make a great final book that is sure to keep wiggly children interested and listening.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.