It’s hard to read Can an aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Beach Lane Books, 2017) without wanting to join in with the howls, growls, bellows and laughs. I was reminded of the howler monkeys my kids loved to impersonate after hearing them at the Houston Zoo years ago.
Stewart leads with the title question of whether an aardvark can bark, and when we discover the sound it does make, she teaches us of other animals that make similar sounds. Then we are treated to animals that do bark. The book continues in a similar, but not monotonous way; there’s enough variation to keep the reader excited to turn the page. In total, Stewart portrays seven sounds and 35 animals, all delightfully illustrated with Jenkins characteristic cut-and-torn paper collage art.
This book makes a perfect inside chilly-weather read. Kids can act out their own zoo, complete with accurate sounds and do research on animals that pique their curiosity. I learned a lot about the different calls and sounds that animals make and can’t wait for the chance to read this with a young reader who will join me in some pretend play. What a symphony of sounds we will make!