Humans and Animals: What We Have in Common

Albatros. May 2022. 36p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9788000063577.
K-Gr 3–With stylized digital art and a soothing tone that blends facts and metaphors to make a point, this book makes strong arguments for the commonalities humans share with animals. The table of contents spells it out: “We Play,” “We Use Tools,” and “We Communicate,” but also “We Farm,” “We Show Off,” “We Collaborate,” “We Have Talents,” “We Have Emotion,” plus more. The spreads, in teal, mint green, vivid coral, flamingo pink, and eggplant, back up these headers; e.g., to communicate, human babies may use crying and later, words, and possibly sign language, while animals have their own sound systems and sensory moves. The trouble comes under “We Show Off” when a heteronormative couple that seems to be jitterbugging well together is seen as a showing a “promising sign,” and when “Many women use makeup to draw attention to the beauty of their eyes and lips in order to enchant their admirers.” The text moves swiftly from apparently the 1950s to medieval courtship when knights fought over women, noting that men have gotten over this behavior. It’s such lazy writing and sociological assessment that it’s unfair to both humans and animals.
VERDICT Even allowing for tongue-in-cheek, this book is confusing despite its good intentions.

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