Review posted May 14, 2014.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2014. 36 pages.
What’s Your Favorite Animal? is simply good fun. A collection of 14 fabulous illustrators of children’s books answered that question and provided a picture to go with it.
Many, such as Eric Carle, Peter Sis, Peter McCarty, Steven Kellogg, Susan Jeffers, and Erin Stead, give us a little story explaining their choice. Steve Kellogg says, “My older sister had claimed horses as her favorite animal, so I chose cows.” Erin Stead tells us, “I like how penguins seem confidently awkward on land but then glide so swiftly and expertly underwater.” Peter Sis gives us a heart-warming story of blue carp at Christmas time in the Czech Republic.
Nick Bruel goes with cartoon panels, telling us about the charms of octopuses – until Bad Kitty interferes. Rosemary Wells also uses panels, to show us the favored positions of a dog on my bed. Tom Lichtenheld gives us a limerick about giraffes.
I think my favorite picture is Jon Klassen’s duck. Those eyes. Classic Klassen.
The rest are quite short. Chris Raschka’s lovely snail, Lane Smith’s show-off elephant, and Lucy Cousins’ beautiful leopard are simply explained. But shortest of all is the entry by Mo Willems, with a picture of a snake with a bump in the middle: “My favorite animal is an Amazonian Neotropical Lower River Tink-Tink. (It is also this snake’s favorite animal.”
This would require time for discussion in a storytime, and I think would work better shared one-on-one, or with a child to pore over in private. An elementary school art class could have a good time with it. Of course, it begs the question, “What is your favorite animal?”