by Aaron Reynolds (Author) Dan Santat (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
The lion is king of the jungle!
The great white shark is sovereign of the seas!
The timber wolf is emperor of the forests!

But . . . it's lonely at the top of the food chain. It's difficult to fit in when plant eaters can be so cruel--just because you ate a relative of theirs that one time! What's a carnivore to do? Aaron Reynolds's roaringly funny text is perfectly paired with Dan Santat's mouthwatering illustrations, creating a toothsome book that's sure to stand out from the herd.
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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

The lion, the great white shark, and the timber wolf are tired of being disrespected by those lower than them on the food chain. "The wildebeests call him 'bad kitty' just because he's eaten half the neighborhood," says the sympathetic narrator of the lion. "It hurts. It really does." They try vegetarianism, only for the wolf to discover, "Every single berry bush seemed to have a bunny inside." They disguise themselves as upstanding members of their preys' species, but the great white shark can't resist turning a pod of dolphins into takeout. Leave it to a wise great horned owl to give the hapless trio sage advice on living as meat-eaters: own it. Reynolds (Creepy Carrots) and Santat (Crankenstein) do likewise, making the most of their flair for comic timing, visual exaggeration, and spoofing everything from foodie trends to self-actualization. Clearly, there's still plenty of room in the irreverent and decidedly Darwinian humor territory pioneered by the likes of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review
K-Gr 2--"They're not bad. They're carnivores. Eating meat is just what they do." Putting together a beautifully illustrated picture book with engaging narration is like watching a movie in 3-D. In this case no special glasses are necessary, you just need the right device and a little imagination. Narrator L.J. Ganser creates humorous personalities for three of nature's fiercest predators through voice and tone. Listeners meet calm and concerned Lion, frantic and worried Shark, and Wolf, a laidback surfer who just wants to hang ten. Of course they feel the stigma of their lifestyles; being at the top of the food chain can be lonely, and they have feelings too. In an effort to fit in they try in vain to be vegetarians and wear disguises. When all else fails they consult the wisest carnivore, the Great Horned Owl. Owl reminds them that "eating meat is just what they do." The journey to self-discovery isn't always easy, and it is okay to seek out advice. Listeners will connect with these comically drawn characters as they learn to be true to themselves and accept who they are. This set is a worthwhile addition for all public and school libraries.--"Terri Norstrom, Cary Area Library, IL" Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Will young readers swallow such a tongue-in-cheek take on the importance of self-acceptance? With relish."—Kirkus Reviews
Aaron Reynolds
Aaron Reynolds is the New York Times bestselling author of many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, Carnivores, and the Caldecott Honor-winning book Creepy Carrots!. He regularly makes time to visit schools where his hilarious hands-on presentations keep kids spellbound. Aaron lives in Chicago with his wife, two kids, four cats, and anywhere between zero and ten goldfish, depending on the day. Visit Aaron at

Peter Brown is the author and illustrator of many bestselling children's books, including Children Make Terrible Pets, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, and The Curious Garden. He is also the author of the bestselling middle grade Wild Robot duology. He is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor for Creepy Carrots!, two E.B. White Read Aloud Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award, and a Children's Choice Book Award for Illustrator of the Year. Peter's website is
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Chronicle Books
Publication date
August 20, 2013
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002000 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | General
Library of Congress categories
Humorous stories
Humorous fiction
Food chains (Ecology)
Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Buckeye Children's Book Award
Winner 2014 - 2014
Georgia Children's Book Award
Finalist 2016 - 2016
Black-Eyed Susan Award
Nominee 2015 - 2016
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2015 - 2016

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