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The Animal Review: The Genius, Mediocrity, and Breathtaking Stupidity That Is Nature

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  139 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Ever since our ancestors first set eyes on a woolly mammoth and agreed that it needed hunting, human beings have been making judgments about animals. The king cobra: That's an A-plus animal. The garden snail? D-minus. On a good day.
In Animal Review, Jacob Lentz and Steve Nash give authoritative listings and ratings of dozens of your favorite (and least-favorite) animals. E
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Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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karen
Mar 14, 2014 karen rated it did not like it
i have never been more let down by a book in my life.

which is, i suppose, something to be grateful for; some people get on streaks of books that they hate. at least this was only a casual at-home-reading book that didn't waste too much of my time.

but i still resent the time it did take.

this should have been the perfect companion book to f.u. penguin: another book giving animals the what-for, coasting on their looks and making us gurgle over their "feets" and their oversized manga eyes or the way
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Bethany Miller
Sep 03, 2010 Bethany Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through the Goodreads First reads program.
The Animal Review is very much a book of the information age. Reading this outgrowth of Jacob Lentz and Steve Nash's blog is as low-commitment as browsing a website. They divide the animal kingdom into four common sense categories (land, sky, water and other) and, after a brief discussion of positive and negative attributes, assign a letter grade.
Set this book on your bedside table, kitchen counter or anywhere else you can pick it u
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Esther
Jan 25, 2011 Esther rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I had a hard time enjoying this book because the authors seem to be trying to hard to be funny at the expense of factual truth. While the book might be a good one to have for people to read in the bathroom, just as any joke book would belong there, I was disappointed by this item. One of the authors wrote for a late night television show and clearly tries to put that talent to use in this book but fails miserably. There are funny parts, true, but the book provides no insights into the animal ...more
Melissa
Mar 12, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Pollock
Mar 16, 2010 Diane Pollock rated it it was amazing
Hilarious romp through the animal kingdom! Very fun and engaging read, that was not only entertaining but also educational. I was inspired to research many animals further. For example...the sea cucumber. I had to learn more about how it ejects it's own organs through it's anus! The photos were charming and the prose delightful. My only regret was that it was too short...perhaps there will be a sequel?
Donna
Mar 16, 2010 Donna rated it it was amazing
Great book -- I loved it! I was expecting a book filled with facts and figures and things like that. This book has those but it's written in such a way that it is fun to read, but it's not overwhelming. It is easy to read and has some subtle humor in it that keeps you smiling as you learn all these strange facts about these animals.
Sandi
Jan 20, 2012 Sandi marked it as paused
This little volume came to me via the FirstReads program. It had me laughing out loud. It will probably take me quite a while to finish it. Both my son and my husband think they are more worthy of it than I am and it has found it's way to the man-library, aka the bathroom.
Jocelyn
Mar 17, 2010 Jocelyn rated it really liked it
I won this book in a give-away contest. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. And in fact I am loaning it out to friends right now. It is cleverly written by two authors who are experienced in writing comedy. While it is mainly a "fun" read, the authors throw in scientific fact as well. Even for someone who has vast knowledge on animals, there are some real surprises in store. I would recommend this book for any animal lover or any book lover for that matter. It is an easy ...more
Sharon
Mar 15, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an advance copy of this book free as a First-Reads. I didn't know what I was getting into, but I was pleasantly surprised. This was a light and amusing book that I enjoyed. I found myself giggling aloud (which is great because I don't often find anything laugh-out-loud funny). It was a fun combination of wit, sarcasm, and actual factual information. I was entertained, and I learned some fun new vocabulary words at the same time!
Jd032700
Mar 15, 2010 Jd032700 rated it really liked it
Won this on Goodreads/Firstreads. It was a funny fast read and I laughed out loud several times. I found it very irreverent which I love. Enjoyed that I was able to read a little at a time. Really liked the book
Holly
Apr 10, 2010 Holly rated it really liked it
Fun, entertaining, and educational! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Nick Black
Jul 06, 2015 Nick Black rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-nyc
lots of fun, but nothing that wasn't on the blog.
amelia
Jul 21, 2010 amelia rated it it was amazing
I think this is the funniest thing I have ever read. Take from that what you will.
Keri
Apr 11, 2010 Keri marked it as to-read
This book looks really funny.
Joe
Sep 03, 2011 Joe rated it did not like it
Recommended to Joe by: First Reads
I'm sorry friends, I've let you down. I was thrilled to have received "The Animal Review" as part of the First Reads program. I think, that being able to get free books, and then sharing your thoughts with friends is an incredible way to promote literary enthusiasm. My shame then, is that it has taken me so long to warn you.
I found the vignettes, although neatly arrayed on a single page, next to a nice enough photo of the animal in question, just not funny. Or, even clever, really, it was lik
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Wade
Apr 01, 2015 Wade rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, early, reviewer
As with most humor, whether you like this book or not is a matter of taste. The 'reviews' of animals are varied enough that the joke never becomes completely repetitious, though in most cases the deadlier the animal, the higher the grade. Some metaphors are strained to the breaking point (locusts=teenage girls) which causes a review or two to devolve into non sequiturs. The actual facts that are camouflaged within the reviews keep it interesting, but of course, you would need an outside source ...more
Michele
Oct 20, 2014 Michele rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I received a free copy of this book for review via First Reads.

Just received my copy yesterday. I was a little apprehensive at first - "The Genius, Mediocrity and Breathtaking Stupidity That Is Nature" - but if the whole book is like the section on Pandas, it will be more like "the Breathtaking Stupidity of Humans"...and that is no big surprise.

The photos were wonderful: 5 stars
I actually learned a few things: 4 stars
Humor: 3 stars
As I have the sense of humor of a pre-adolescent boy, I admit I
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Emily
May 02, 2010 Emily rated it liked it
Based on a popular blog, The Animal Review is part FU Penguin (only with more facts) and part John Hodgman (only the facts are real). It's a snarky look at some of nature's largest, scariest, weirdest, you-name-it animals. Each animal's review features photos (with captions, of course) and fun facts (which aren't always related to the animal in question) and concludes with the animal's grade (A+ through F). Nowadays, it seems like everyone is turning a blog into a book, so I was a bit skeptical. ...more
Dolly
Apr 06, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults who want a good laugh with a little bit of zoology thrown in for good measure
I received a free copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Filled with snarky humor, it's a hilarious book. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading it. While there is some factual information presented, it's not so much of an attempt to educate, but a tongue-in-cheek commentary on animal and human behavior. It's a short book, but I only allowed myself to read a few "grades" at a time, because I didn't want to finish it too quickly. I passed ...more
melydia
Feb 10, 2011 melydia rated it really liked it
Maybe I'm just jaded, but I've found most animal humor books aren't particularly humorous. They're like Garfield, recycling the same old jokes and stereotypes. So you can imagine my delighted surprise when I laughed out loud on several occasions while reading this book. Each animal is graded using an admittedly biased (and often ridiculous) methodology, from the A+ King Cobra to the F-rated Alpaca. The ideas of vulture as college roommate, ants as teen girls, and Nature as moody art student are ...more
Uriah
Apr 23, 2010 Uriah rated it really liked it
I recieved this book as a first reads winner.

The first thing I have to say about this book is that it is hilarious. The descriptions of the animals, their traits and their habits was fun and engaging. I often found myself reading parts of it aloud to those around me. That said, it sometimes seemed to have political overtones and some of the grades felt disconnected from the descriptions that had been given. Minor quibbles.

Overall a very enjoyable read that manages to inform as well.
Martin Earl
Mar 09, 2012 Martin Earl rated it liked it
3 instead of 4 stars because while some of the animals were HILARIOUS, the second two thirds kind of lagged a bit. I still recommend it for anyone wanting some good laughs mixed with truth and lies.

many people have complained about the disinformation that is given in this book, but I find it to be among the best material. It is very much in the style of John Hodgman's books and even in the vein of Stephen Colbert. Are the authors sometimes trying too hard to be funny? yes. Do they expect you to
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Meaghan
Apr 15, 2010 Meaghan rated it really liked it
People who liked F. U. Penguin (the book or the blog) will like this book. The authors take on the fauna of the world in a humorous, often derisive tone, giving each animal a letter grade. The King Cobra gets an A-plus, for example, because they're afraid to give it a less than perfect grade since it's gigantic and deadly poisonous. The wimpy, dorky-looking llama gets an F.

This book has very good photos and includes a surprising number of real and interesting facts about the animals featured. It
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Kelly
Sep 19, 2014 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I won this book through Goodreads' giveaway. Although entertaining, I was bit put off by the comedy at the expense of fact. There are plenty of interesting animal facts out there... why not integrate some of those instead of just making things up? The book was entertaining, but remember to read it with the spirit in which it was intended.
Melissa
Feb 12, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it
I won this as a Goodreads First reads Book.

At the time, I didn't know about the authors, or their related blog, so I didn't know what to expect. As a biologist, I would have appreciated more facts and little less joking about, but the book is supposed to be a humorous look at animals, and that's what it is. Just a fun read about a selected bunch of critters.
Heather
May 17, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2010
This book combines my love of learning about animals with my love of making fun of animals. It is seriously the funniest book I've read in a long time, and I've read copious amounts of Sedaris and Bryson.

My particular favorites are the chapters on Pandas, The King Cobra, Blue Whales, and Sea Cucumbers.

I'm still giggling a little bit just thinking about it.
Christopher Obert
May 12, 2010 Christopher Obert rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
A cute and fun book about animals, loaded with photos, fun facts and many jokes and puns. I liked the facts but found that the authors went overboard with the jokes. I would have like a lot less humor and many more fun facts.
Laura
Sep 02, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
Overall, I found this pretty stupid. I smiled (not laughed) maybe twice, and while the occasional fact was interesting, truth got so muddled with the authors' attempts to be funny that I was more bored than anything else.
Cate
Jul 19, 2010 Cate rated it it was amazing
This was truly one of the most amusing books I've read. I laughed out loud on repeated occasions. For those who thought this was a reference/learning book, it's no wonder you didn't like it (think: comedy before animal knowledge, not vice versa)! Would recommend to anyone with a sense of humor.
J.M.
Apr 15, 2011 J.M. rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, abandoned
Whimsical look at different animals, which the authors grade (A-F) on a variety of factors. The idea is cute and the explanations that accompany the grades are quite humorous, but it became repetitious after a while.
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