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Carnivores Hardcover – August 20, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811866904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811866903
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2–The cartoon animals in this picture book bear a distinct resemblance to the expressive animals of the big screen. These wide-eyed carnivores have a peculiar problem: their feelings are hurt because the other critters do not appreciate their eating habits. The humorous text follows a great white shark, a timber wolf, and a lion as they strive to fit in. At first, they think becoming vegetarians will help. They even form a support group. But despite their efforts, they realize they just can't change their appetites. Then, they don disguises and try to blend in, but their socializing attempts end poorly. A wise, old owl explains, “I'm not bad. I'm a carnivore. Eating meat is just what I do.” The three predators like the advice so much that they eat the owl. The adorable bunnies don't fare well either. This book is not for the squeamish. Part personal acceptance mantra, part no-holds-barred buffet, it's funny in the same vein as Michelle Knudsen's Big Mean Mike (Candlewick, 2012). While not all readers will like the food-chain cruelty or enjoy the sometimes mixed messages, this will be a favorite for rowdy read-alouds. The well-paced text moves quickly and is paired deliciously with the bold, colorful illustrations. The grizzly heroes even eat the animals in the endpapers. Grim and chuckle-inducing from cover to cover.–Leila Sterman, Chappaqua Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


"An irreverent, toothsome tale championing self acceptance."--Jama Kim Rattigan, Alphabet Soup Blog

"Will young readers swallow such a tongue-in-cheek take on the importance of self-acceptance? With relish."--Kirkus Reviews

"Will be a favorite for rowdy read-alouds. chuckle-inducing from cover to cover."-School Library Journal

"The underlying theme for young readers, of course, is being yourself and accepting who you are."--Reading Today

"Irreverent and decidedly Darwinian humor pioneered by the likes of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith . spoofing everything from foodie trends to self-actualization."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

Customer Reviews

Carnivores are so misunderstood!
This Kid Reviews Books
Third graders would love reading aloud this cheeky carnivore club picture book.
The story is cute and the illustrations are great and entertaining.
JD Corrigan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jf. on October 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book seems like the author's attempted justification for his own eating habits. A former vegetarian, he is now what appears to be a meat-enthusiast, bragging about all of the exotic animals he has eaten. I found the book disturbing and the message unclear. The metaphor for "being yourself" or "accepting who you are" that was attempted here fell short. True carnivores do not sit around contemplating how other animals perceive them. They eat other animals purely as an act of survival. To set up a friendship or companionship between cartoon "predators and prey", only to have them eat one other is upsetting and confusing. "Be yourself, even if it means tricking and harming or even consuming your supposed friends?" This is a message better explored through an alternate plot line.

In addition, this author recently visited my school, and while others seemed to find him hilarious, I sat in awe at his lack of regard for the children he called up as part of his presentation. He pulled one student's ponytail up and down with force to mimic her "nodding her head yes" as everyone laughed, and repeatedly hit another student posing as the "illustrator" in the head (not lightly) as an intended joke every time he annoyingly said the phrase, "You so creative". He ended by forcing a boy to chest bump with him. I found the entire experience odd and uncomfortable.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on September 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Some of the world's best known carnivores--the lion, great white shark and wolf--are thought of to be fearsome and frightening. Yet when the trio get together in a new picture book, Carnivores, they can't wait to share about how their feelings get hurt when they are labeled as meanies.

What's a good meat-eater to do? These three decide to go on a vegetarian diet, but find they don't have the stomach for it. Ultimately they go back to being their true selves, even if it does mean they eat cute animals.

Written by Aaron Reynold and illustrated by Dan Santat, Carnivores is a light-hearted look at what it means to be at the top of the food chain. The play starts on the cover, where the carnivores are covered in plastic as though they are packaged at a grocery store meat counter. The fun continues from there with the wild animals working to get in touch with their feelings and be more likeable.

The topic is a bit macabre, with the lion eating antelope, the shark dispatching dolphins and the wolf consuming bunnies, but it should help young children understand the role of carnivores in nature while entertaining them with humorous illustrations. It's lots of fun in a dark sort of way.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Format: Hardcover
If you prefer denial concerning the food pyramid within the animal kingdom, this book may not be for you. On the other hand, if you have the stomach to face the reality of nature's food chain, then this is the perfect book for you!

As we see in the opening scenes, the three most feared carnivores, the lion, the great white shark, and the timber wolf are all in the throes of an identity crisis. None of the other creatures seem to like them and, after all, "even savage carnivores get their feelings hurt".

Quite saddened by the social stigma formed against them, these three decide to rally in a support group in which their first initiative is to go vegetarian. This plan, however, is doomed from conception. Wearing disguises doesn't help them fit in for long, either. It seems that whatever relationships they attempt to form simply never survive.

Then one day the "wise" owl (an experienced carnivore himself) attends the support group to offer counsel. His speech is so brilliant that soon all guilty complexes about being a carnivore are gone . . . as is their not-so-wise guest speaker just moments later.

It turns out that life at the top of the food chain is great, even if a few relationships tend to be sacrificed. These three have learned an important lesson in life together. In the end, however, the lion and timber wolf are just as interested in learning how to make . . . sushi. Poor shark.

It is not often that I find a book that can elicit laughter on nearly every page. Aaron Reynolds' humor is genius in dealing with what some may consider a rather gruesome topic. Likewise, Dan Santat nails every posture and expression to perfection. Children between the ages of five and nine, and who are ready to face the facts of the animal kingdom's food chain will especially enjoy this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I'd previously read Creepy Carrots by this author which was brilliant and the supermarket shrink wrapped meat tray parody cover for Carnivores looked so appetising. Consumption was very satisfying. The book brilliantly teaches children to be happy with who they are, not to worry about vicious comments or bad attitudes because you have an unchangeable characteristic. It does so with humour and in a way children won't even realise their being taught this and other lessons such as don't try and alter your behaviour to be accepted by the ignorant creatures in the community when there's nothing wrong with what you're doing.

The story has a lot of nice twits, both in the written text and in the illustrations. Those illustrations are brilliantly drawn and colourful as well, with all characters being a recognisable but different enough to be fun and not scared for children (or for the prey in the book) cartoon version of real life creatures.

I'll definitely check out more books by Aaron Reynolds and keep an eye out for anything illustrated by Dan Santat too. The cover illustration you can see on this product page is an accurate representation of all the pages inside. Often picture books will have a great cover and average artwork inside. That is not the case with Carnivores.
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