Animals Are People Too An Adorable Animal Emotion Thesaurus

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“His head was bent in sorrow

Green scales fell like rain”

-- Peter, Paul and Mary, “Puff the Magic Dragon” (1962)

“Emotion is defined as any mental experience with high intensity and high hedonic content. The existence and nature of emotions in animals are believed to be correlated with those of humans and to have evolved from the same mechanisms. Charles Darwin was one of the first scientists to write about the subject, and his observational (and sometimes anecdotal) approach has since developed into a more robust, hypothesis-driven scientific approach. Cognitive bias tests and learned helplessness models have shown feelings of optimism and pessimism in a wide range of species, including rats, dogs, cats, rhesus macaques, sheep, chicks, starlings, pigs, and honeybees. Jaak Panksepp played a large role in the study of animal emotion, basing his research on the neurological aspect. Mentioning seven core emotional feelings reflected through a variety of neuro-dynamic limbic emotional action systems, including seeking, fear, rage, lust, care, panic, and play. Through brain stimulation and pharmacological challenges, such emotional responses can be effectively monitored.”

-- Wikipedia, “Emotions in Animals”

I suspect that ANIMALS ARE PEOPLE TOO has been repped to bookstores and gift shops as an exceptional “counter book”--a point-of-purchase display item meant to inspire impulse purchases. And, while I understand the wisdom of such a sales strategy, I fear that there are booksellers and librarians who might then fail to recognize the great value to children of this beautiful and engaging book of photographs.

ANIMALS ARE PEOPLE TOO is organized into six sections. Each is headed by a defined emotional term: joy, sadness, disgust, love, contempt, anger, fear, and surprise. Each section contains a series of two-page spreads in which a photographed creature is labeled with a subtype of the overall term. For instance, “sadness,” which is defined in the section header as “feeling or showing sorrow or unhappiness,” contains photographic depictions of “misery,” “gloom,” “despair,” “melancholy,” “shame,” “contriteness,” “lugubriousness,” “disappointment,” “funk.” “heartache,” “inconsolableness,” “distress,” “bleakness,” “grief,” “loneliness,” and “wistfulness.”

Anyone from age two through ninety-two will get a kick out of paging through the photographs of emotionally expressive apes, birds, foxes, seals, tigers, bears, and dozens of other species. But it will be the 8-12 year olds who will truly profit from exposure to these terms and photos of emotion. It will benefit them both in the expansion of their vocabulary and their emotional intelligence.

Helping children to recognize that animals have emotions is to help them empathize, to understand that they should treat animals in a humane manner. Because animals can, in fact, feel and react emotionally to how they are cared for.

And developing a child’s emotional intelligence will similarly benefit his or her relationships and interactions with those of their own species.

Therefore, I would be euphoric, jubilant, gleeful, and just plain tickled if you would take a good look at this menagerie of emotions.

240 pages                        978-1-250-31863-3             Ages 7-11

Keywords:  animals, emotions, mental health, photographs, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, emotional intelligence

Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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Animals Are People Too explores the range of human emotion in 240 pages of adorable animals photos.

What's the difference between bliss and solace? Misery and sorrow? Bitterness and malice?

In Animals Are People Too, each page presents animal portraits that illustrate everything from the depths of sadness to the heights of joy. At times hilarious, at times poignant, but always visually stunning, see yourself in the animal world with images such as "indulgence" personified by a chubby-cheeked chipmunk, "glee" shown by a dancing tree frog, and "infatuation" portrayed by the entwined necks of two giraffes.---from the publisher

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