________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 2 . . . . September 16, 2005


Pigs Aren’t Dirty, Bears Aren’t Slow: And Other Truths About Misunderstood Animals.

Joanna Boutilier. Illustrated by Ben Hodson.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2005.
40 pp. ,pbk. & cl., $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-848-1 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-849-X (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Animals-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-7 / Ages 7-12.

Review by Ming Wong.

***1/2 /4


Most people know that owls have excellent night vision, but there is a common misconception that owls are blind in daylight. In fact, owls have huge, powerful eyes that see as well in daylight as they do at night. Speaking of eyesight, many people think that owls can rotate their heads in a complete circle to see in all directions...they achieve this by turning their heads quickly from side to side about three-quarters of the way around each way.

All children are fascinated with animals. Joanna Boutilier, a teacher, writer, and editor, does an excellent job of dispelling many common misconceptions about animals in her first book, Pigs Aren't Dirty, Bears Aren't Slow and Other Truths About Misunderstood Animals. Boutilier identifies the myths and misunderstandings children develop as they try to make sense of bats, bears, lions, owls, pigs, sharks, snakes, spiders, toads, and wolves.

     Are bats birds? Are bats mammals? Young readers come to understand the many assumptions and discover the facts about these 10 creatures and their species.

Another misunderstanding about bats is that they are all black and scary-looking. In fact, there are nearly one thousand different types of bats and they come in all different colors and sizes. The tiny hog-nosed bat weighs only about as much as a dime, while large flying fox bat has a wingspan as wide as a child's bed.

internal art

     Throughout the book, Ben Hodson, a self-taught artist and nature lover who has been around animals all his life, depicts the creatures in a comical way that solidifies these common misconceptions. In addition to the illustrations, the book is accompanied by “Name That Creature” that identifies the different kinds of animals within each species and a section for further readings on these creatures.

     Pigs Aren't Dirty, Bears Aren't Slow uncovers the truth and provides fascinating facts for young readers to appreciate and enjoy.

Highly Recommended.

A transplanted Canadian, Ming Wong is a resource center manager for a nonprofit organization in D.C.



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