Does a Woodpecker Use a Hammer?: How Everyone Uses Tools

illus. by Emily Bolam. 32p. (Think About). Blue Apple. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781609054281.
K-Gr 2—Illustrated with brightly colored cartoons, this book asks whether various animals can use a hammer. The answer is always no, but for each animal, there's an explanation for how it accomplishes tasks, such as a woodpecker using its bill to make holes in trees or chimps employing sticks to fish termites from their nests. The focus then shifts to how humans are the only species that can make and use advanced tools. The second half jumps around, attempting to cover a vast amount of information in only a few sentences—early man, the first farmers, the Egyptians and Romans, modern man. The information is simplified to the point of confusion; for instance, the author explains that a cow can't use a hammer because "it has hooves—not paws." The book lacks an index and sources for the facts. However, readers will find the questions appended to encourage further discussion and critical thinking useful. More helpful as a conversation starter than as an informational text.—Emily E. Lazio, The Smithtown Special Library District, NY
These animal behavior/social studies hybrids follow a similar pattern. Silly animal questions ("Does a squirrel cook?") and informative answers ("A polar bear sleeps on the snowy ground inside a den") are followed by simple discussions of human customs. Bolam's inviting illustrations make the most of the premise and reflect the text's informal tone. Prompts for further investigation are appended. Review covers these Think About titles: Does a Bear Wear Boots?, Does a Panda Go to School?, Does a Camel Cook Spaghetti?, Does a Beaver Sleep in a Bed?, and Does a Woodpecker Use a Hammer?.

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