How Do Meerkats Order Pizza? I think they would call up their favorite joint and say, “A large cheese and scorpion pie please. And hold the eagle feathers.” (Or something like that.) That is of course, if they ate pizza. They do eat scorpions though, and in How Do Meerkats Order Pizza?: Wild Facts about Animals and the Scientists Who Study Them we learn some amazing and fantastic facts about animals. Some of which we might not usually see in a book, so that is very cool. And even if you do know a little about them (like meerkats) you just might learn something new. And we also learn a little about the scientists who are studying them. And not just that, some of the equipment, like a submersible that only holds three people, who aren’t wearing shoes (so I really hope they all put on their foot deodorants!) Or how crows recognize faces, and are scared of cavemen face-mask (because they did something that upset them) and not the Dick Chaney masks (and you are telling me they are smart?) This information is fun. We meet scientists that started out as kids, and we see how they took their love of animals (sometimes not the ones they study now) and made careers out of it. We see how spoons can be used to scoop things that you don’t want on your spoon and some far out goodies.
The only drawbacks are actually also pluses. Brooke Barker’s humor allows for multiple levels of readers to partake, but it can be a bit too much and make you “step out” of the flow of the text and not take things as serious as you probably should. And this humor is also in the artwork, making the cartoon images unreal to a point and that can be off putting for people who like non-fiction. But they are also bonuses that could help reluctant readers (as they say, “See? Not just another science/animal/non fiction book filled with stuffy old photographs and drawings), and they also help to not make things overly “just the facts.” And sometimes there are little “sidebars” that allow you to “walk away” from animal X so you can be ready for animal Y. However, a few parts of this humor felt forced (I never really understood why the horse was there when it was not “their turn” or we never have a horse chapter). But this book is awesome as we get to learn about POOP!!! and awesome facts about such creatures as there is aMidge that is the only insect and largest land animal in Antarctica! (Read to find out why I am not telling tales!!)
The book covers animals that are common (crows) and it also covers animals that are less common (marsupials). We also see endangered and threatened animals, animals impact on the planet, the human impact and even how animals impact is not always a good thing. Overall, this is a good book that I recommend for the classroom or the child who loves animals but knows the traditional ones.