3 out of 4 stars
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Even though I did not particularly enjoy my school days, I've always considered myself a student of life. However, I've never considered all the lessons that can be learned from our four-legged (or eight-legged or two-finned) friends or not-so-friends. Fortunately, Nabi Gueye has considered just this and has written a handy little guide, Animals teach us life (author's capitalization), to the things we can learn from our furry or scaly neighbors.
In this 51-page booklet, Mr. Gueye focuses on one animal per page, first noting some information about this creature and then advising us on what we can learn from this animal. For instance, we learn that "Thanks to their multiple physiological adaptations, camels can go long periods without drinking or eating, and survive in dry environments. Their humps, for instance, concentrate body fats which are helpful in that matter." Our lesson from such information is that "You need to find out saving strategies to withstand hard times." A student of the Nature Channel, I already knew many of the facts presented but had never related them to the human experience, so I appreciated the parallels. With that being said, I was confused about the sections on the mouse and on the cow. The former's lesson didn't really seem to follow the fact, and the latter's fact and lesson were both related to humans rather than showing how anything benefits the cow itself. Before these factoids, there was a cute little fable starring a parrot, gecko, and wolf; this section very much reminded me of Aesop, thereby making me smile.
Each page also has a picture of the animal in question. They are all actual photographs, and I enjoyed looking at them - except for the arachnid, eew! - though very few of the pictures really exemplify the lesson being taught. I especially liked the pictures of a dog and its human, the panda, and all of the felines, big and small. Some of the pictures are a bit grainy, but that's likely because they were taken in the wild and therefore on the run (or fly or swim).
As much as I liked this little guide, there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to how the animals were arranged. Being the organized sort, I would have preferred if they'd been sectioned alphabetically or according to genus or something.
Sadly, Animals teach us life was littered with grammatical errors, and I found ten errors over the course of the short book. These missteps ran the gamut from punctuation mistakes to missing words to incorrect tense. Additionally, many words that should have been plural were singular and vice-versa. There was also one fragment, one instance when "ones" was used in place of the correct "one's", and one typo. I think English may be a second language for the author, as there were also many sentences that, though grammatically correct, had awkward syntax. I strongly urge Mr. Gueye to hire an editor so that children may learn proper English as well as facts while reading this.
With all things considered, I am forced to give this guide 3 out of 4 stars. If it wasn't for the typographical errors, I might recommend it to children over the age of 12 since some of the words and phrases - like "tenacious" and "arsenal of protection" - are too complex for youngsters of a younger age. I do think adults who are interested in nature may like to while away an hour or so with this book. Readers who like fables and/or analogies may also find something to like therein. If you still need help deciding whether or not to read this, let me offer you words of wisdom from the Parrot's page:
******Pay attention to words! They are a double-edged sword. They can serve you well as well as drown you in the deep waters of regret.
Animals teach us life
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