Review of Animal Architects

Animal Architects
by Amy Cherrix; illus. by Chris Sasaki
Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    56 pp.    g
9/21    978-1-5344-5625-9    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-5626-6    $10.99

“Did you know the natural world is a construction zone? Whether they are large or small, in the ocean or on land, animals are amazing architects!” Cherrix (In the Shadow of the Moon, rev. 3/21) explores a number of structures that animals build for shelter, for defense, or to obtain food. Coral reefs, nests of twigs and stones, spider webs, and underground homes for ants and prairie dogs are some of the structures described in short paragraph-and-illustration sequences that unfold across four-page sections. The first pages of each section show in-progress construction of the structure; then the final product is revealed through a sentence split across the page-turn (“As the burrow expands, it becomes… / …a [prairie] dog town”). Sasaki’s (Home Is a Window, rev. 3/19; Paper Son, rev. 11/19) thoughtful illustrations use a variety of perspectives to follow the animals as they gather materials or dig above- and underground, and to allow viewers to look up, down, and through the creatures’ creations to see how they’re used. Some of the structures, such as nests, are built by solo animals for their personal use; others are constructed by social groups for the benefit of the collective. Many structures also benefit other species in their respective ecosystems, such as the coral reef, which provides shelter for multitudes of ocean dwellers, and the beaver dam, which produces a “brand-new pond that every animal in the forest will enjoy.” A list of selected sources is appended.

From the September/October 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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