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This book has a clever structure. Each page set starts by asking the reader if an animal can make a specific sound (the answer is usually "no"). On the same spread a response informs readers of the kind of call that animal makes. There's a short explanation giving context to how the animal uses that sound. AND THEN you turn the page and see a whole set of animals using that same sound for different reasons. Did you know that rats can laugh?! Did you know that king cobras can growl?! Did you know that a gecko can bark?! I betcha didn't! Stewart's text is organized in such a fun, brilliant way that it calls out for the reader to explore the whole page. Paired with Jenkins' illustrations you literally have a book that will be studied by readers of all ages. And what really pushes this book over the top is when readers join in, making the sounds of each animal as a new question and response is shared!
My first thought is Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins together? On their own, both have contributed mightily to children's nonfiction literature so when they combine their talents, the book becomes a must read. An intriguing question for the title? Hmm, never thought about the noise that an aardvark makes. Now my curiosity is at a high level and I really want to dig in. Plus, how can you resist a book with an adorable aardvark on the cover? So I open the book and get a full length view of the aardvark with the details that make Jenkins a big favorite among readers of all ages. Up top, the title question is on the left side of the spread and a response on the right side in a larger font while in the bottom left corner is additional information in a smaller font. With the rhyming of the large font question continuing throughout the book (Can a wild boar roar? Can a giraffe laugh?), we have a pattern that says "Big time fun shared reading ahead." K-1 students will love reading along and viewing the artwork. You could also cover the right side and have students predict whether the animal can make that sound. The smaller text will feed the appetite of animal enthusiasts who want more information. After you learn about the feature animal, the next spread highlights four other animals who make the same noise. There are eight feature animals in all. Add four animals that support each lead animal and you have forty animals in all. Now you have an opportunity to work on building categories and making graphic organizers. Divide your class into eight groups and create bubble maps for each sound. Another bonus? Each of the paragraphs that accompany an animal is a great opening to work on cause and effect. Why does the animal make that sound? There's always a reason. On the final spread of the book, all of the spotlighted sounds are combined so readers can practice their animal communications. Beside being loads of entertainment, this will help them connect to the information previously presented.
Whether you have to bark, grunt, growl, or bellow, do what you have to do to add this book to your classroom collection. With so many possible uses, it will be a valuable addition.
Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2017
This book came at a perfect time for my family! My son had a doctor appointment last week and he was in the jungle room. While in the room, he started saying the noises for each animal and asking me what the ones he didn’t know make. I promptly found an app for that, and we’ve been exploring the app ever since listening to the sounds of all sorts of animals from chimpanzees to ibex to anteaters that live in the jungle to the farm to the mountains. And then we received Can an Aardvark Bark? in the mail, and it was such a happy coincidence! The book is a perfect addition to my new animal sound obsessed kid.
But in addition to my personal story of why we’re excited about this book the text is also filled with animal facts, fun to read, and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Steve Jenkins.
The artwork is clearly the best part of this picture book. Steve Jenkins cut-and-torn paper collage animals are stunning!
My daughter and I did stop and look-up videos on many of the animals mentioned in the book to hear their sounds. The animals included are not your basic farm animals! We had fun. We were particularly taken with the nighttime bark of the common barking gecko!
A survey of different animals that make grunts, barks, squeals, whines, growls, bellows, and laughing sounds. Each animal is labeled and gets a short paragraph about the noises it makes and under what conditions.
Probably the most creative and informative animal noises book you'll find. Great nonfiction read for animal lovers.
Clever rhyming structure supports the main point of this book: "Animals use all kinds of sounds to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Just like you!" Young readers will love trying out the different sounds and learning about which animals make which.