Common Sense Media says

Witty words with whimsical illustrations.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is nothing of concern in this book of humorous poems with inventive paintings.

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What's the story?

Twenty-one extraordinary poems about twenty-one extraordinary creatures! Witty words are whimsically accompanied by childlike illustrations of original mammals: an oddly shaped tapir, a sneaker-wearing rhebok, a bactrian camel donning a dapper hat. The spiraling word format reinforces the energy of the language.

Is it any good?


Douglas Florian's paintings -- done on primed brown paper bags -- energize the mammals, and his words cleverly describe their idiosyncrasies. The hippo who "eats and eats and eats and eats" has a table and a place setting inside his mouth. With the text "Madagascar leaping lemurs breeze through trees without breaking femurs," three gleeful primates fly off branches as crutches float around them.

For one 5-year-old reader, MAMMALIBILIA was a good introduction to animals he hadn't heard of before, and the silly verses encouraged him to remember some of the animals' characteristics, such as the lynx's sought-after coat and the tapir's hefty head. Florian presents wonderful examples of how cool words can be.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fun rhymes. Which lines and poems do you enjoy most? Parents can help children identify different elements in the structure of the poems and encourage kids to write their own animal-inspired poetry.

Book details

Author:Douglas Florian
Illustrator:Douglas Florian
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:January 1, 2000
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Mammalabilia was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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