Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

How Animals Build

How Animals Build

Moira Butterfield
Illustrator:  Tim Hutchinson 
Novelty nonfiction book
For ages 7 to 9
Lonely Planet, 2017   ISBN: 978-1786576637

We like to think that we humans are the only creatures on this planet who are builders and architects, but this is not the case at all. Animals are also builders, and some of them create extraordinary dwellings that serve to protect them from the weather and from predators; and in some cases that also help them to find food.

Often we are surrounded by homes that animals have built and we don’t even know it. Let us look at a European Oak tree. At first it seems to be just an empty tree, but if we take a closer look we discover that it is actually an “apartment block with branches.” Among the leaves there are wasp and squirrel nests, the home of a green woodpecker which was excavated in the tree trunk, a wood mouse burrow at the base of the tree, and web-like nests of tree lice can be found on the bark of the tree.

The wood mouse is only one of many hundreds of animals who dig to create their homes. Some of these diggers work together to create an underground community, including meerkats, prairie dogs, rabbits, and naked mole rats. These animals work together to excavate their homes, take care of their young, search for food, and look out for predators. Termites also create communities, and their homes are often huge structures that are carefully organized so that the millions of residents stay cool, have food to eat, and are protected.

Some animals use what they can find around them to make their homes, while others like bees, silkworms, and spiders make their own building materials themselves, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

This wonderful book looks at the many different kinds of homes that animals build. On every spread there are pages that fold out and/or that have tabs that can be lifted. Young readers will be able to spend hours exploring this book, and they will come to appreciate how marvelous the animal kingdom is.