Play Like an Animal!: Why Critters Splash, Race, Twirl, and Chase

Maria Gianferrari (Author) Mia Powell (Illustrator)


Dash! Hide! Splash! Ride! Exuberant text celebrates all the different ways animals play, from rhinos taking mud baths and parrots somersaulting through the air to kangaroos boxing and dolphins diving through the surf. Additional text explains how playing benefits animals. Fascinating back matter gives more information about the featured animals in the book and encourages readers to make time to play every day!

Product Details

Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publish Date
April 07, 2020
10.9 X 9.0 X 0.5 inches | 0.01 pounds
Library Binding

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About the Author

Maria Gianferrari is an author who lives in northern Virginia with her family and dog.

Mia Powell is an illustrator based in the United Kingdom.


Rhinos, monkeys, elephants, and more describe how they play (and why) in this beautifully illustrated book. Each animal has a page or two to show how they play. The artwork is very colorful and conveys a sense of movement. The last page ties the narrative themes together and points out that children and animals engage in the same activities to encourage brain growth. Back matter features animal games, animal facts, and further reading. The action verbs on each page are called out in a different, large font that are easy for kids to read (race, chase; box-wrestle-tug). Some of the other vocabulary is more advanced, but could be read with help. Each page also features an orange box that describes why the animals are engaged in these specific behaviors. VERDICT A fun way for children to realize that animals play just like them. Great for libraries looking to beef up their animal collections.--School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

This colorful nature book considers how and why various animals play. In most cases, a particular type of animal appears on a double-page spread with one or more illustrations and a few phrases of text. Nearby, a small red square carries a sentence or two explaining how those playful activities (tug-of-war, tag, etc.) can strengthen the animals, sharpen their wits, or improve their survival skills. For instance, in four illustrations on a double-page spread, a mother kangaroo boxes with her joey: 'PUNCH, / KICK, / SMACK-SLAP!' Within an adjacent red square, the text explains that play fighting prepares kangaroos for defending themselves against predators and mentions that mother kangaroos let their joeys win. The back matter includes information about the animals mentioned as well as a further reading list. Fun for sharing one-on-one, the book often shows animals engaged in activities that children enjoy. The lively artwork, created with 'paints, handmade textures, and digital media, ' offers energetic scenes of animals in motion. The last double-page spread shows kids playing, too. An inviting choice for animal-lovers.--Booklist

-- "Journal"