The author of this book has a PhD in environmental science education, and works magic in this overview of the ways in which animals employ problem-solving strategies to navigate through the world.
She explains in her note:
“Problems are a problem. It’s frustrating when things don’t work out the way we’d hoped. And problems often leave us feeling scared, angry, worried or alone. Yet they are a normal part of life. Not just for you and me, but for every living creature on the planet. I wrote this book because I marvel at the creative ways in which animals tackle problems in their everyday lives. I want to encourage you to let nature spark your imagination when you’re caught in a jam.”
So what do animals do? For surely, as the author explains, they have problems to solve too, with respect to finding food, shelter, staying out of danger, and so on:
“When . . . animals want to make something happen…they try.
They get frustrated.
They try again.
They invent tools.
Chimpanzees fold leaves to spoon cool drinks of water.
Sea otters balance rocks on their bellies, perfect for cracking crabs.”
Some ways in which other beings solve problems are startling:
“And when they’re seeking direction,
Dung beetles look to the heavens
And steer by the Milky Way.”
Of course, it’s not only ideas that help solve problems, but assistance from others:
“You turn to friends and family
For support, and so do other animals.
Ravens use gestures to offer ideas.
Hyenas cooperate to help the hunt.”
“Untame your imagination.
A world of wild ideas awaits.”
Three-dimensional dioramas in vivid hues by the artist Soyeon Kim add a sense of wonder to the brief but cogent, understandable, and lyrical text. Some of the collages include real photos alongside the drawings for added texture and interest.
Evaluation: This is an excellent presentation for kids of a complex subject in a way that will not lose their interest, but rather will amaze and delight them, and hopefully entice them to investigate further on their own.
Published by Owlkids Books, Inc., 2015