Book review: 'The Secret Language of Animals' by Janine M. Benyus

Lengthy book doesn’t need to be read straight through; readers can skip to animals that interest them the most.
by Hayley Riggs McGhee Published: June 22, 2014
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“The Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to Remarkable Behavior” by Janine M. Benyus (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 512 pages, in stores)

If you observe animals in a zoo long enough, you’ll likely see some curious behavior — like preening birds, stalking lions and gorillas grooming each other.

Janine M. Benyus’ “The Secret Language of Animals,” which is an updated version of a 1998 book, seeks to demystify some of these behaviors that entertain and fascinate animal watchers.

The book features chapters on 20 different animals that break down what they do and why. The chapters are arranged by geographical region, taking readers on a journey all across the animal kingdom.

Benyus covers topics like communication, mating and parenting, and she does an excellent job of explaining these behaviors in a way that’s conversational and easy to understand. There are also helpful charts and plentiful illustrations that further simplify explanations of certain behavioral aspects.

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by Hayley Riggs McGhee
Assistant Sports Editor
Assistant Sports Editor Hayley Riggs McGhee has worked for The Oklahoman since 2005. She previously worked as a page designer/copy editor for the (Fort Smith, Ark.) Times Record and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas. She is a Roland...
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