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Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite
You Can't Smell a Yak is a hilarious nonfiction rhyming alphabet book. Dr. Brenda K. Findley uses mammals whose names start with each letter of the alphabet and then writes short poems broken into four-line verses about each animal. The poems contain basic information such as where the animal lives and what it eats, but the real gems in the book are the verses that contain information with total kid-appeal. For example, the poem about the elephant contains the section: "Two things about us/You might not suppose/We don’t care for peanuts./We all have six toes!" Or this one, sure to be a favorite, from the poem about the lemur: "I can make my tail stink;/Rub it under my arm,/Then wave it at bad guys/And raise the alarm!" Each animal is given a two-page spread which contains the poem and an accompanying photograph.
There is plenty of humor to keep kids’ attention while they learn about various animals. I don’t know how Dr. Findley found so much funny stuff to include – she has a real knack for that and she figured out just what to do with it. The book is in color, which is good, but I thought the graphical look of the picture pages doesn’t really do justice to the quality of the text. The strength of this book is the teaching of factual information in such a funny way. I can imagine the giggles when You Can’t Smell a Yak is read to a class of preschool or kindergarten children! I hope it’s just the first in a series of books about mammals, reptiles, birds, bugs… Dr. Findley should keep them coming!