#404 – Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds



by Aaron Reynolds

Dan Santat, illustratorlogo_123377_web (1)

Chronicle Books

6 Stars

Inside Jacket: 

The lion is the 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?

Opening:  . . . But even SAVAGE CARNIVORES get their feelings hurt.  The lion tries to ignore it when the gazelles whisper behind his back. . . .  The wildebeests call him “bad kitty.”  It hurts.  It really does.

The great white shark . . . Everyone talks about his “feeding frenzies.”  But he’s simply a fast eater.  Nobody understands.

And the timber wolf almost never eats little girls.  That “Little Red Riding Hood” story is very misleading. . . .  He can’t help it.

Carnivores_Int Spread_1

About the Story:  The three greatest carnivores at the top of their food chains are feeling lonely and excluded.  Not knowing what else to do, they come together to talk about their feelings.  An AA meeting, if you will, or maybe a CA meeting.  The timber wolf comes up with an idea that will get those below them on the food chain to include them and maybe even become friends.


Salad, seaweed, and berries were not enough for the three top-carnivores. The great white shark came up with another idea, but it too soon failed.  The lion, timber wolf, and great white did not know what to do.

Everyone’s mean to us.

They bring in the wisest animal they know.  The wise one said his feelings also would get hurt and then told the three despaired animals what he did to solve his problem.  The wise one gave the lion, shark, and timber wolf the boost in spirits they needed.  Life changed for all three top carnivores.  They welcomed new members into the group.  The Alligator, leopard, and others came to the meeting.  They learned new recipes and spiced up their meals.  Everyone was finally happy.  Well, almost everyone.

Carnivores_Int Spread_2

What I Thought:   I became excited when I saw the cover of Carnivores.  I had not heard of this yet to be released picture book.  Page after page I laughed until my stomach hurt.  Seriously, this is one of the funniest picture books I have ever read.  The top of the food chain is upset because those at the lower levels do not want to be around them or be friends.  Would you?  Oh, no way, but they are alive and have feelings, so I suppose they need acceptance.

If my reaction is any indication, and I am not saying it is, but if it is, kids are going to absolutely love this book.  Each page is filled edge-to-edge with crisp, snappy illustrations.  There is not a page with white on it, unless put there by the illustrator.  Mr. Santat has created a wonderful pictorial story that matches Mr. Reynolds story.  Whoever put these two artists together knew what they were doing.  The pages in this slightly large picture book (40 pages instead of usual 32), are glossy so as to make the images pop and thick to withstand all the turning that will occur.

The humor is out of this world, especially the twist at the end.  I still smile and giggle when I think of the ending and the plot twist I had not seen coming.  The beginning, when each animal moans about his or her horrible state of rejection, I laughed.  When they came together in a meeting—think Carnivores Anonymous—I about fell over.  What an idea.  The goofiness never stops.  The owl comes to give advice and they respectfully listen, take his advice to heart and . . . then . . . they . . . oh, I cannot tell you!

Carnivores_Int Page_2

If you are looking for a picture book to teach your child the food pyramid, Carnivores is not your book.  If you are looking for a book to learn about the food chain, nah, not really going to help.  Looking for a story that is fun, hilarious, and has wonderful illustrations, Carnivores is a good choice.  If you want to have a hilariously riotous time with your child, Carnivores is the choice! It is a “can’t lose” picture book for those wanting a good time with their child, though I do not recommend this as a bedtime story.  Your child, and you, will find it hard to stop laughing and fall asleep.  However, Carnivores does have a message:  be yourself and love who you are.  I love Carnivores. 


Now a Top 10 book for 2013, Carnivores will need your vote in December to win the first ever Kid Lit Reviews “Best of . . . for 2013.”



by Aaron Reynolds    website    blog    facebook   twitter

Dan Santat, illustrator     website     blog    facebook   twitter

Chronicle Books     website     blog    facebook   twitter

Released September 1, 2013

ISBN:  978-0-8118-6690-3

40 pages

Ages 5 to 8


© 2013 by Chronicle Books used with permission

Text copyright © 2013 by Aaron Reynolds

Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Dan Santat







15 thoughts on “#404 – Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

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  4. Wow! I think this book will be a smash hit! The humor sounds right up my alley, and I feel for the carnivores–they just want to be accepted. Makes me want my own carnivore to love and cuddle.


    • Turns out YOU are delicious if you go giving away the ending. Make everyone want to get the book. 😀

      What endpapers are you talking about? (If this will reveal too much, email me.)
      I liked your review. Sorry, I forgot to link to it. 😦


  5. I think I passed this book by at the library last week. I’ll grab it next time! I don’t see how there can possibly be a happy ending. A carnivore’s gotta do what a carnivore’s gotta do…. Right? Fun review…


  6. OMG Sue! I had heard about this book before it came out! I’m partial towards books about animals anyway, but this one takes the cake…or the prize. Can I vote now, or do I have to wait until December?


    • Sorry, you must wait until December. You never know, a better book may come, aw, what am I saying? This is a FANTASTIC and rather YUMMY picture book. 🙂

      When this arrived, I instantly loved the cover. The first read through is always for the fun of the story and I laughed so much. Then the second reading is for the technical stuff . . . and I laughed and laughed. I couldn’t read it technically, it is just too funny. (Should I be saying these things in my review? Seriously, should I?) The inside is fantastic, oh I said that. Well, it is! I love the ending. It made tears roll out of my eyes. You must at least take this out of the library. You’ll make too much noise reading it to stay there. 😀


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