A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this offbeat and rather silly guide to a made-up world of animals is the basis for a 3-D movie out in 2011, which will draw more kids to the whole series. This book usually sticks to the cute and cuddly, but one flanimal is described as eating others and some kick and step on other flanimals just for fun.
What's the story?
This picture book/comic book hybrid acts as an identification guide to fictitious creatures collectively called flanimals. Each flanimal is illustrated with details on their personality, behavior patterns, what and how they eat, and their common and scientific species names. A quiz in the back tests readers on what they've learned.
Is it any good?
British comedian Ricky Gervais -- best known as creator of The Office -- shows another side to his ultra-quirky persona with this bit of silliness: his 8-year-old boy side. These beasts are like a cross between Muppets and the Ugly dolls; kids and parents who are fans of either will find the flanimal descriptions laugh-out-loud funny,and the illustrations suit their behaviors and personalities perfectly.
Without a real story to support the characters (although that's supposed to be coming in a 2011 3-D movie), this book works best as a diversion on long trips or the occasional break from tough math problems.
Wonderfully colorful and whimsical art that definitely adds to the excitement and appeal of the book. Readers will be studying the illustrations long before they get into the creature descriptions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether flanimals remind them of real animals. What's strange about their behavior? What seems like typical animal behavior?
Do you think there are still animals that might still exist in nature that we haven't discovered yet? Which flanimal would you most hope would be real?
Families can also talk about what imaginary creatures they'd dream up. Would they be outlandish just for the sake of silliness? Practical enough to help with homework or do your chores? Good at video games?
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