Book Review of The Screaming Hairy Armadillo
The Children’s Book Review
Illustrated by Julie Benbassat
Ages 7+ | 176 Pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing | ISBN-13: 9781523508112
What to Expect: Languages, Etymology, Biology, and Taxonomy
The world is full of weird and wonderful creatures. There’s the spined assassin bug, the pink fairy armadillo, the long-wattled umbrella bird, and even the headless chicken monster. Amazing as these creatures are, however, it’s really their names that stand out. How did they get these names, and what do they mean?
The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names, as the title suggests, takes readers on a fascinating journey through language, etymology, and taxonomy to discover how animals get named, what their names mean, and how language can reveal the complex relationships human beings have developed with animals over the course of history. Most children love a good animal compendium, but it can get a bit tiresome reading tome after tome of animal facts and statistics. What makes The Screaming Hairy Armadillo different is that this is a book as much about language as it is about biology.
Each entry in this encyclopedia of strange animals provides the relevant taxonomic information, as well as intriguing insights into how these creatures got their peculiar names and, more importantly, what those names tell us about both the animal and our relationship to it. For example, readers will learn that the blue-footed booby’s name derives from bobo—the Spanish word for “foolish” (29)—and that the twice-stabbed stink-bug has been renamed three times (89). Explanations of the Latin taxonomical names also help readers get a feel for how scientific terminology has developed in English.
The Screaming Hairy Armadillo is a fun and unique way to give readers a fresh look at the animal kingdom.
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About the Authors
Matthew Murrie is a former public school teacher, curriculum writer, and private academy instructor. His father, Steve Murrie, is a retired science teacher with 40 years of teaching experience. Matthew and Steve are the coauthors of Every Minute on Earth and Guide to the Planet.
The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names, written by Susannah Lloyd and illustrated by Jacob Grant, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names by following our reviews and articles tagged with animals, biology, etymology, and non-fiction.