#1179 – Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart and Steve Jenkins

Can an Aardvark Bark?
Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrations by Steve Jenkins
Beach Lane Books 6/13/2017
32 pages   Ages 2—8





“Animals make all kinds of

“But why do they
make them?

“And what
do they mean?”

[WC 334]
Can An Aardvark Bark uses rhyme, repetition, and information to get kids interested in how different animals speak. Seven groupings begin with a question and an answer, followed by four additional animals who use the stated sound. Increasing the font of each verb/sound highlights the speech word for children. Following the questions are boxes explaining how the animals, in the title case barks, to communicate and what it might mean.

“Lots of other animals bark too.
“When woodchucks feel scared,
they belt out a high-pitched whistle.
But they often bark and squeal
while fighting with one another.”

These sounds—bark/grunt, squeal/bark, roar/squeal, whine, bellow/growl, laugh/bellow, and mew/laugh—connect with its animal—aardvark, New Zealand fur seal, wild boar, porcupine, dingo, giraffe, and kangaroo—to begin each grouping. Four additional animals complete a two-spread group. Interestingly, after the pattern of questions followed by, “No, but . . .” Stewart changes things up with one main animal by inserting, “Why, yes, it can!” She then goes back to the original pattern of no answers. Children will delight in the change of pattern.

Children who are interested in wild animals will love Jenkins’ cut-and–torn-paper collage illustrations. In Jenkins’ hands, the animals are amazingly detailed and accurate with this method. White backgrounds make the animals easier to see in a group setting. On white, the animals pop off the page.

Children, especially those who like wild animals, will love Can an Aardvark Bark? The sounds allow the read an opportunity to vocalize each animal, which will delight children. With thirty-two animals, children’s’ roaring, squealing, and laughing may become disruptive in a quiet setting, just as if the actual animals were there. The final page includes close-ups of each main animal with their actual sound.

Stewart’s final words bring all the vocalizing and the meaning of each, home for readers and may inspire a few to keep learning about the sounds animals make. “Animals use all kinds of sounds to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Just like you!”

CAN AN AARDVARK BARK? Text copyright © 2017 by Melissa Stewart. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Steve Jenkins. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Beach Lane Books , New York, NY.

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Illustrations from CAN AN AARDVARK BARK? by Melissa Stewart copyright © 2017 by Steve Jenkins. Used with permission from Beach Lane Books /Simon & Schuster.

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved.


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