Hilarious tongue-in-cheek tale teaches acceptance.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids learn about different types of carnivorous animals and their reputations in the animal kingdom.

Positive messages

Carnivores presents a strongly positive message in favor of self-acceptance (and eating meat).

Positive role models

Characters are relatable to school-age children, with a good attitude to model -- they care about fitting in, but ultimately work toward self-acceptance.

Violence & scariness

Many of these meat-eaters are shown with giant, toothy, open mouths, which could frighten smaller kids. Their affection for meat-eating (such as innocent bunnies and cute birds) is professed with relish (but never shown in action), which might be a bit explicit for very young kids who are likely attached to cute animals.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Carnivores is a humorous celebration of meat-eating that doubles as a lesson in self-acceptance. Because the animals' meat-eating is shown with such gusto, younger kids may need shielding from jokes about cute bunnies eyed as lunch. A minor note: Parents who are vegetarian or vegan may find the book's zeal for meat could confuse an at-home message about diet.

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What's the story?

When a group of carnivores are hurt by their reputations as savage meat eaters, they band together to try to fit in, attempting everything from disguises to abandoning meat eating altogether. Along the way, they have to figure out how to accept themselves, and how to live with being misunderstood.

Is it any good?


CARNIVORES is a tongue-in-cheek riot. Told from the perspective of animals who long for acceptance in spite of their bad raps, the book explores the hilarious lengths to which people (and animals) will go to fit in, rendered vibrantly with mixed-media illustrations that wouldn't be out of place in a graphic novel. 

For kids, the bold, silly humor and social concerns of these bloodthirsty predators will be a hilarious read. For parents with school-age kids, the notion that there's just no use trying to be something you're not is a valuable lesson that can't be taught soon enough. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about meat eating vs. vegetarianism. What are some reasons for eating meat? What are some reasons against?

  • Many animals eat only meat, but some eat just plants. Humans can subsist on protein found in plant and animal sources. What kinds of protein do you eat in your family? What's your favorite?

  • What does it mean to fit in? Have you ever felt you should change something about yourself to fit in? What happened? How did it make you feel?

Book details

Author:Aaron Reynolds
Illustrator:Dan Santat
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Ocean creatures, Science and nature, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Publication date:August 20, 2013
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 6
Read alone:6 - 8
Available on:Nook, Hardback, Kindle

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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