Sometimes you just stumble upon a book that looks simple but turns out to be a really funny read. That’s how I felt about Liz Climo’s works and now that’s how I feel about Carla Butwin’s If Animals Could Talk. Using animals, Butwin takes our preconceived notions of them and turns them on their head. Irreverently funny, Butwin plays on words and the characteristics we place on certain animals. While it may look like a read aloud for your kids, I would not recommend it. There’s a lot of irony and sarcasm that may be lost on kids and there is some PG-13 language. As for adults, read-a-way!
I don’t like to compare authors a lot. It feels like comparing siblings, which isn’t fair. I feel that as readers we tend to do this subconsciously, especially with authors who write in similar styles and genres. Butwin certainly has her own specific style and she takes the animal-humor (genres?) in a unique directions. When I first grabbed the book off the shelf, I do feel like I set myself up to read one of Climo’s books, however. Due to this, I feel that I was pleasantly surprised because Butwin’s humor is much sharper and edgier. All in all I feel that neither Climo nor Butwin is better than the other since they are writing in unique ways about similar topics. Frankly I’m glad because we readers will benefit from future works of both amazing authors.
A quick but hilarious read, I recommend this if you want to see animals make fun of themselves in a PG-13 fashion as well as experience an author playing on our presupposed ideas of what endears us to the creatures in this book. Carla Butwin is going alongside Liz Climo as two of my favorite authors who use animals to share humor.