Nov 14, 2011

What Animals Really Like

What Animals Really Like by Fiona Robinson

     The billboard is up. It announces that for one night only the legendary conductor Mr. Hervert Timberteeth will present his new song: What Animals Like (a pair of birds are holding a banner with the word "Really" above the billboard, changing the title to What Animals Really like... a premonition that things are not going to go as expected).  The conductor walks on stage, the red curtains open (fold out flaps) and we see twelve different groups of animals on stage, and an octopus piano player, dressed and ready for the performance. "A-one, a-two, a-one, two, three, and..." The song begins and each group of animals sings what they like to do. First, the lions sing that they like to prowl, then the wolves like to howl, the pigeons like to coo, and the cows like to...We all guess we'll turn the page and read 'moo', but instead we find the the cows like to dig.  The conductor is confused but lets the show go on.  But little by little, the show spins it out of control as more animals stray from the script and tell us what they really like.
     What Animals Really like is a riot.  It funny and clever.  I love the fact that it plays with the rhyme to create the unexpected.  The things that each group of animals like get more and more unpredictable and ridiculous: lions really like flower arranging.  The design of the book is also very clever: the cover shows the animals prepping for the show and the title page is its billboard. It is a great read-aloud and offers the possibility of extension activities where students come up with their own theories of what animals like.  Love it.

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