The Not Bad Animals
by Sophie Corrigan
A book that gives you thrills, makes you laugh, and contains just the right dose of grossness to make your toes curl with delight (at least if you’re 7 years old) is a pretty fine thing. Add in the fact it can sneakily offer opportunities to talk about empathy, discuss emotions and even explore fake news, and you’ve got quite a package.
Such is The Not Bad Animals by Sophie Corrigan, a richly illustrated panoply of animals who though they often get a bad rep from us humans turn out to be pretty amazing and helpful creatures when you delve a little deeper.
38 animals get to introduce themselves, first playing up to all the bad things said about them – whether that’s them being stinky or dangerous, sneaky or just plain icky. These pages may be a little bit frightening to start with, but they are quickly followed by pages of myth busting where each animal explains the truth about what they do, what they eat, how they communicate, and how they actually help us humans.
The fact checking is funny and illuminating, helping readers see creatures they might be frightened of (such as wasps or spiders) in a new light. The illustrations are dynamic, funny and very clever; a challenge for slightly older readers could be spotting what Corrigan does to make the animals which looked mean and nasty on one page all cute and cuddly on the next.
Humorous and substantial (the book is over 150 pages long, and also includes a glossary), it would delight many a 5-10 year old animal lover, at the same time as helping parents/teachers talk with children about prejudice, fears and setting the record straight.
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[Reviewed by Zoe for FOLIO]