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Animal Teachers

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By Janet Halfmannanimal teachers
Illustrated by Katy Hudson
Blue Apple Books
ISBN: 978-1609053918 (Hardcover)
Ages 3 & up, nonfiction picture book

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Awards & Praise

2014 Platinum & Gold Best Book Awards from Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
2014 Honorable Mention in Tofte/Wright Children's Lit. Awards: Council for WI Writers
Great Review in Kirkus Reviews
Great Review in Publishers Weekly

The Story

How do animals learn to swim, fish, box, or build? In the forest, in the pond, in caves, prairies, and jungles, in all the world's outdoor "classrooms," baby animals are . . . learning! They are taking lessons on how to be an expert swimmer, alarm-sounder, racer-chaser, or hide-and-seeker. They don't have books, or desks, or computers. But they do have teachers!

With clear, graceful prose and striking illustrations, Animal Teachers showcases the teacher-student dynamic betweeen adult and young animals as they are taught crucial skiils needed to handle daily challenges.

An entertaining combination of science and storytelling, this instructive title presents skills that a dozen different young animals have to learn. Will the animals earn an "A" for their efforts? No! But a banana or a good hiding place might be even better! 

The Story Behind the Story

Whenever I read about or research animals, I search for the exact details of their behavior, so I can make the life of the animal come alive for the reader. In doing this, I was fascinated by how animals learn, and thought kids would be also. I think kids like to read about things that animals do that mirror their own lives.


  • "Just like human children, animal babies from chicks to bear cubs learn lessons from adults around them. Spread by spread, the conversational text of this instructive title presents skills a dozen different young animals have to learn and connects them to readers . . . Nicely connecting the child to the natural world, this would be a useful opener for a unit about animas as well as a title to share with young animal lovers." —Kirkus Reviews
  • "Twelve vignetttes explore the kinds of 'lessons' that various animal adults teach to their offspring . . . Hudson's graceful artwork offers a hint of anthropomorphic tenderness bwtween the animal parents and children, while remaining naturalistic. Readers should especiallly enjoy prompts inviting them to compare their own behavior with that of the animals: 'Do you yip? Can you bark? Or shout? Or yelp? How do you make youself heard?'" —Publishers Weekly

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