Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Early Experiences in Kirkus Reviews

Does a Seal Smile? by Fred Ehrlich, M.D., illustrated by Emily Bolam

Does a seal smile? How about a mandrill, a coyote and a chimpanzee? In a question-and-answer format, Ehrlich asks readers whether these animals smile (they don't) and show how they recognize and greet each other through body language, facial expressions and sound. He then moves on to people; beginning with babies, he introduces the basics of human communication. Last, he provides examples of how people from different cultures greet one another. Bolam's appealing and wry illustrations will charm; however, there is a lot of information here. While the text is straightforward, the human-animal parallels and some of the vocabulary may not be entirely clear to the youngest children and will likely require explanation. With some help, though, children will come to appreciate the differences and similarities between human and animal behavior and understand the basics of how members of different cultures greet one another as well.
--Kirkus Reviews (July 15th issue)