Can you tell which end you’re looking at?
by Kari Lavelle
Sourcebooks Explore, 2023. 36 pages.
Review written July 27, 2023, from a library book.
I’ve now been Youth Materials Selector for my library system of 22 branches for a full year — and have gotten more requests that we purchase this book than any other nonfiction book.
What is it? Extreme close-up pictures of fourteen unusual animals. And those close-ups are either taken from their front end or their rear end. Turning the page reveals which one.
Like I said, most of these animals are a little unusual. Several insects and arachnids, and more than a few animals from Australia. I definitely was fooled more than once when I read through it.
After you turn the page, you get a more about the animal and where it lives, including little boxes with fun facts headlined either “Face the Facts” or “Beyond the Backside.” A chart at the back tells “Where they rest their BUTTS” and “What goes in their FACES.”
It’s kind of a shame this book came out in the middle of the summer, because it’s tailor-made for booktalking in the schools. I’m sure many librarians will choose to booktalk it next year, but I’ll be surprised if a lot of kids won’t have already seen it. I ordered 22 copies, and they all went to fill holds, with 5 people still having to wait their turn. (This is unusual for a children’s nonfiction picture book.)
This is a funny and playful way to learn about some of the amazing variety in the animal kingdom. Can you tell which end you’re looking at?
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Nonfiction/butt_or_face.html
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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.
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