Can an Aardvark Bark?

by Melissa Stewart (Author) Steve Jenkins (Illustrator)

Can an Aardvark Bark?
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
From award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins comes a noisy nonfiction exploration of the many sounds animals make.

Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt. Lots of other animals grunt too...

Barks, grunts, squeals--animals make all kinds of sounds to communicate and express themselves. With a growling salamander and a whining porcupine, bellowing giraffes and laughing gorillas, this boisterous book is chock-full of fun and interesting facts and is sure to be a favorite of even the youngest animal enthusiasts.
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Publishers Weekly

Stewart (Feathers: Not Just for Flying) highlights the sounds that animals make in this inviting primer, which is augmented by Jenkins's torn-paper portraits. Stewart leads with internally rhyming questions about particular animals ("Can a wild boar roar? No, but it can squeal"), and the subsequent pages introduce additional animals that make similar sounds; a European hedgehog and European spotted dolphins are among other creatures that squeal. Brief captions elaborate on the animals' methods of communication: "A male koala really makes a racket at mating time. His deep, growling bellow helps females find him." Jenkins (Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep) renders each animal with characteristic attention to detail and subtle texture, resulting in a handsome and dynamic exploration of animal behavior. Ages 2-8. (June)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3--Students will be surprised to learn that though an aardvark can't bark, it can grunt. Stewart opens every other spread with a query about what noise an animal might make ("Can a dingo bellow?... No, but it can growl."). After answering, the author organizes groups of creatures that make similar sounds on the following spread, often with surprising results (platypuses will softly growl when disturbed). These groupings are fascinating for their diversity, and noises covered include greetings, sounds made out of fear or to attract food, and mating calls. Jenkins's cut and torn paper illustrations provide not only texture but also an incredible amount of detail. For instance, students can almost count every quill on the African crested porcupine. Overall, the layout is smart, as animal names are in boldface and the communication style (growl, hiss, etc.) is in a larger font size, signaling its importance. VERDICT A terrific title for elementary-age kids to help them draw comparisons between animals and sounds--libraries can't go wrong.--Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Using a question-and-answer format that employs internal rhymes, Stewart and Jenkins enlighten readers about animal utterances. "Can an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt," Stewart informs us. She follows up with a paragraph of supplementary aardvark facts and an additional spread itemizing other grunting animals. Most subsequent Q&As reference previous questions ("Can a seal squeal? No, but it can bark"), excepting the answer for porcupines, who can indeed whine. Jenkins' signature cut-and-torn-papercollage illustrations seem to jump off the page. They are at once boldly simple (set against white backgrounds) and amazingly detailed (a result of the varied textures used). Multiple type sizes add to the book's versatility. Toddlers will enjoy the large-print Q&As, while older children will appreciate the informative paragraphs presented in smaller font. And while there's much to be gleaned about familiar and esoteric species (who knew a giraffe could bellow?), the final spread, encouraging listeners to let loose their own laughs, grunts, bellows, and growls, provides the perfect excuse for toddler participation.
— Kay Weisman—Booklist "April 15 2017 "
Melissa Stewart
Melissa Stewart is the author of more than 150 science books for children, including ten National Geographic Readers. Feathers: Not Just for Flying was an ALA Notable Book for Children, as well as a winner of the Cybils Award for Nonfiction and the Nerdy Book Club Award for Nonfiction. No Monkeys, No Chocolate was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013 pick, and a NSTA and CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book. Stewart is also the coauthor (with Nancy Chesley) of Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Beach Lane Books
Publication date
June 20, 2017
BISAC categories
JNF003000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | General
JNF051050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Biology
JNF013100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Concepts | Sounds
Library of Congress categories
Animal sounds
Animal communication

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