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Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

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This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior in animals. Join celebrated author Eliot Schrefer on an exploration of queer behavior in the animal world--from albatrosses to bonobos to clownfish to doodlebugs. In sharp and witty prose--aided by humorous comics from artist Jules Zuckerberg--Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists. Queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex--and as natural--as it is in our own species. It doesn't set us apart from animals--it bonds us even closer to our animal selves.


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This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior This groundbreaking illustrated YA nonfiction title from two-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Eliot Schrefer is a well-researched and teen-friendly exploration of the gamut of queer behaviors observed in animals. A quiet revolution has been underway in recent years, with study after study revealing substantial same-sex sexual behavior in animals. Join celebrated author Eliot Schrefer on an exploration of queer behavior in the animal world--from albatrosses to bonobos to clownfish to doodlebugs. In sharp and witty prose--aided by humorous comics from artist Jules Zuckerberg--Schrefer uses science, history, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate the diversity of sexual behavior in the animal world. Interviews with researchers in the field offer additional insights for readers and aspiring scientists. Queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex--and as natural--as it is in our own species. It doesn't set us apart from animals--it bonds us even closer to our animal selves.

30 review for Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eliot Schrefer

    [5 stars but I might be biased.] Dear Reader, I was eleven years old when I realized I was gay. It felt like some foreign thing had risen up inside of me, and I didn’t know what to make of it. The sum of the discourse around gayness in my sixth grade was “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” That rhymed, so it had to be true. But what did it make me? That phrase is actually a fair summary of most biology textbooks’ take on same-sex sexual behavior in animals. By strict Darwinian logic, there i [5 stars but I might be biased.] Dear Reader, I was eleven years old when I realized I was gay. It felt like some foreign thing had risen up inside of me, and I didn’t know what to make of it. The sum of the discourse around gayness in my sixth grade was “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” That rhymed, so it had to be true. But what did it make me? That phrase is actually a fair summary of most biology textbooks’ take on same-sex sexual behavior in animals. By strict Darwinian logic, there is something “wrong” about queerness in the natural world, since it would predict fewer offspring. Therefore, science has long assumed that queerness is caused by human psychology. This has had a huge effect: Without studies to counteract it, the presumed “unnaturalness” of queerness has been a cornerstone of centuries of laws that have limited LGBTQIAP+ rights in humans. Eleven-year-old me reeled at the thought that I was unnatural. I made it to the other side only after years of working to embrace my otherness, to “love the monster” rather than hate myself. But what if it turns out that queer people aren’t aberrations from nature at all? There has been an explosion of research over the last twenty years, documenting species after species with substantial and confirmed same-sex sexual behavior or non-procreative sexual expression. One thing is now sure: Queer people are not anomalies in the natural world. Next time someone tells you it’s unnatural for two males or two females to be together, tell them there are a couple of dolphins (or penguins, or geese, or doodlebugs, or _[insert animal here]_) named Adam and Steve who would like to have a strong word with them. Sincerely, Eliot

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mirella ➖ Kivifrukt ➖ Hetekivi

    SUCH an important book! THANK YOU! ♥️

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erin Entrada Kelly

    An incredible, important book. The prose is accessible, but never pandering or patronizing. Lots of humor and LOLs. Smart and clever. Proof that there is nothing “unnatural” and non-hetero attraction—if anything, the opposite. Highly recommend!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    I found this absolutely fascinating and entertaining as an audio performance. The different voices cracked me up. And the INFO. The book presented a happy balance of labeling and fluidity/not labeling things, particularly as we can't 'speak' for animals and what's going on in their heads per se. A quick read/listen, too. I found this absolutely fascinating and entertaining as an audio performance. The different voices cracked me up. And the INFO. The book presented a happy balance of labeling and fluidity/not labeling things, particularly as we can't 'speak' for animals and what's going on in their heads per se. A quick read/listen, too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    “Queer ducks and other animals” by Eliot Schrefer is one of the most peculiar books I've ever read. It's eye-opening, fun, interesting and I basically devoured it. Thank you so much, @epicreads and harpercollins for this copy! In this book, aided by the hilarious comics from artist Jules Zuckenberg, the author uses science, anthropology, history and sociology in narrating the diversity of sexual behaviour in animal world, with interviews with researchers, writers, scientists in those fields. A r “Queer ducks and other animals” by Eliot Schrefer is one of the most peculiar books I've ever read. It's eye-opening, fun, interesting and I basically devoured it. Thank you so much, @epicreads and harpercollins for this copy! In this book, aided by the hilarious comics from artist Jules Zuckenberg, the author uses science, anthropology, history and sociology in narrating the diversity of sexual behaviour in animal world, with interviews with researchers, writers, scientists in those fields. A revolution happening years after years with studies about same-sex sexual behaviour in animals and Schrafer explores some negative theories about animal sexuality and, also, many positive for why queerness is part of the animals' natural state, confuting attempts in identitifying a gene that “causes” homosexuality, in understanding how it doesn't exist a “gay gene”. In an hilarious and highly informative book, the author talks about how spread is bisexuality in nature, how dolphins simply prefer to spend their lives with other male dolphins and sex is a social glue, how history shows how queer rights changed in time, from being social acceptable in Ancient Greece and feudal Japan or the Mayan civilization to be deemed “unnatural” and with death penalty in nineteen century England, with ups and downs. It's also interesting trying to identitify animals sexual behaviours and orientation using “humans” ideas and stereotyped expectations of how a particular sex should or shouldn't behave, mostly managing to identify animals that live outside of sexual binaries or that don't fall into simple female or male category. Bisexuality, asexuality are part of the animal kingdoms as much as the other sexuality and heterosexuality isn't the norm, so isn't heterosexual procreation in many species and how there's an astonishing range in how sex is expressed in animal kingdom, not only used for procreation, but for pleasure and bonding. Animal sexuality, as human ones, resists simplification and refuse to be fit in boy-girl pairs. “One of the beauty of queerness is that it resists simple definitions and classifications.” […] “Sexuality involves a lot more than sex. That goes for humans and it goes for animals” In a world where the homophobia is still very much rampant, even publishing scientific research on queer animals is hard, even though there's a quiet revolution underway since decades. Queerness in animals world and its reason can be various like providing social glue for a relationships, like in the bottlenose dolphins, or to minimize conflict like in the bonobos or sexual expression changes to adapt to a new enviroment or sexual expression lives outside the two-sex binary or just, like in the case of penguins, because they prefer and want to. In a very smart take, if queerness is “wrong” because “unnatural”, what does that mean when queerness is so well-estabilished and part of the nature itself? Does that mean that nature and the whole animal kingdom is wrong too? Queerness do exist in the natural world and there's also an incredible diversity in animal sexual behaviour and expression. We live in a society that's mostly heteronormative, but if these studies showed something is how heterosexuality is just a product of an human culture, so made up by someone in the past, culturally speaking, so it's wrong to try to apply it to everything as a rule. This book is eye-opening, hilarious and so very interesting, swinging from history and how the way people considered queerness changed with times, from accepted to condemned to accepted again, but not completely, in battling heteronormative and homophobic society and culture, in showing how rich and diverse is the animal kingdom and how animals queerness exist.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon

    (No rating because I don't rate nonfiction.) Educational, entertaining, and cathartic. I picked this up on a whim based on this title and am glad I did! It presents the science in an easily digestible way and brings a queer perspective to the animal kingdom. The book has an overall humorous tone but occasionally touches on darker topics such as violations of animal and human rights. I found the chapter on fruit flies especially difficult to read since it discusses eugenics. Schrefer knows when to (No rating because I don't rate nonfiction.) Educational, entertaining, and cathartic. I picked this up on a whim based on this title and am glad I did! It presents the science in an easily digestible way and brings a queer perspective to the animal kingdom. The book has an overall humorous tone but occasionally touches on darker topics such as violations of animal and human rights. I found the chapter on fruit flies especially difficult to read since it discusses eugenics. Schrefer knows when to cut the jokes in these parts and the prose becomes serious. I also love how this treats animals! I've always been sympathetic towards them and have dealt with people saying I'm "projecting human emotions onto them" so it was nice to read a book that treats them with compassion and understanding. I especially like how this explained how often animals go against survival of the fittest by being altruistic and loving to each other. If you're interested in reading about animals from a book that treats them with dignity, are interested in learning about queerness in nature, or had a more conservative schooling experience like me and now need to know how things such as evolution actually work, I'd highly recommend this book! It can help deepen your understanding of animals and humans alike. TWs: homophobia, eugenics (especially in chapter three), and mentions of r*pe (between animals) Content note: this is mostly about animals having sex.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Burton

    Thank you, Netgalley for the ARC of Queer Ducks. It was very informative while being entertaining. The cartoon animal GSA that appeared throughout the book was a nice break in the science. Eliot Schrefer set this book up in a very cool way, with chapters on specific animals followed by Q&As with queer scientists. I’d love to put this book into the hands of many former students.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    What a great look at queerness in nature! While this book deftly sidesteps overly humanizing or labeling animals and relationships with no understanding of our Western ideals or categories, it also reaches right out to readers- especially those in groups who need it the most- and boldly says "this is nothing new, this is nothing strange, this isn't wrong". The fact that this book exists makes me so emotional and so happy. And it's also a genuinely fun read! I'm not a nonfiction reader, but Schref What a great look at queerness in nature! While this book deftly sidesteps overly humanizing or labeling animals and relationships with no understanding of our Western ideals or categories, it also reaches right out to readers- especially those in groups who need it the most- and boldly says "this is nothing new, this is nothing strange, this isn't wrong". The fact that this book exists makes me so emotional and so happy. And it's also a genuinely fun read! I'm not a nonfiction reader, but Schrefer's conversational tone makes this book easy to pick up, and his humor makes it even easier to stay. I also loved the moments of biographical stories, connecting not just to these animals but to the world and why it matters, and specifically to Schrefer. I also loved the fact that we get interviews with those studying these very specific groups and behaviors, mostly people who themselves are in the queer community. Pre-review comments I don't think I've been this excited about a nonfiction book in a long time!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet (iamltr)

    Audiobook review When I started this, I thought I would simply be learning about queer animals, but this was more than just that. This not only taught me about the queerness of animals, but also some of the history of human queerness. I learned a lot from this book. Overall, this was so unbelievably funny at times, serious when needed, and a good way to learn about queer animals. The narration was the best. I know the narrator as Joel Leslie, and it was through him that I learned about this audiobo Audiobook review When I started this, I thought I would simply be learning about queer animals, but this was more than just that. This not only taught me about the queerness of animals, but also some of the history of human queerness. I learned a lot from this book. Overall, this was so unbelievably funny at times, serious when needed, and a good way to learn about queer animals. The narration was the best. I know the narrator as Joel Leslie, and it was through him that I learned about this audiobook and I am so glad I bought it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lyssa

    Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for the eARC! I learned a TON from this book. It is written in a really engaging conversational style that draws you in, but it is also grounded in excellently researched and cited science. This is a very queer-affirming look at the natural world.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lily Edelman-Gold

    Absolutely fantastic book about the prevalence of widely varying sexualities, sexual behaviors, and genders within the animal kingdom. It’s funny, it’s incredibly interesting, and you’ll likely learn something new on every page you read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan Bean

    Fascinating, entertaining, transparent - all around amazing read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC to review. A traditional argument against homosexual behavior is that it’s just not natural. If pressed, the argument might continue that there is no evolutionary benefit to a pairing that doesn’t create children. This book utterly shatters the “not natural” argument. Sexual activity and gender expression are wildly variable across species, making homosexuality and bisexuality and gender fluidity incredibly natural phenomena. And not only natural: evolutionary Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC to review. A traditional argument against homosexual behavior is that it’s just not natural. If pressed, the argument might continue that there is no evolutionary benefit to a pairing that doesn’t create children. This book utterly shatters the “not natural” argument. Sexual activity and gender expression are wildly variable across species, making homosexuality and bisexuality and gender fluidity incredibly natural phenomena. And not only natural: evolutionary beneficial both on an individual and societal level. In some cases, more sex across the board (regardless of who with) equals more chances for babies. In other cases, same-sex sexual encounters reinforce important social bonds that increase survival rates either individually or for the group as a whole. Changing sex entirely can save an animal group’s genes from dying out, and these kinds of sex changes happen in myriad ways. There were other chapters on animals and polyamory, various kinds of reproduction, and still more ways of gender and sexual expression. The upshot of this entire book is that sex and gender expression are a glorious prism in the animal kingdom. And spoiler: humans are animals. One of the most powerful single moments for me was when Schrefer describes the process of a human egg and sperm combining. The traditional tale involves intrepid, daring, determined sperm all vying for the chance to pass into a quiet, docile, receptive, submissive egg (yes, the Look Who’s Talking opening credits sums this up nicely). And he makes the point that **this is an incomplete story we tell ourselves to reinforce our existing notions of sex and gender.** He then goes on to describe human fertilization in greater detail, and with fewer sex-based stereotypes. So scientific observation, hypothesis, and publishing are all burdened by the scientists’ inherent worldviews, despite the emphasis on objectivity. When observers reported sex between a male and a female of any given species, it wasn’t always because they KNEW the animals’ sexes, but it was frequently due to the assumption that it MUST be a male and female. My favorite feature was that each chapter was punctuated with a scientist interview. Many were queer scientists and this was a stellar way to offer readers exposure to real people doing science around animal sexuality. These mini interviews were not only interesting, but each one listed at least one place to see or read the scientist’s work, so it was a treasure trove of extra information. My least favorite element was the cartoons. While they offered a visual break from the narrative, the information was so riveting they wasn’t necessary. There may have also been photos or other illustrations which had not gotten into the manuscript yet, and I would imagine photos would have been a better visual medium. I also didn’t really get a lot of the jokes, which probably says more about me than the cartoons. While I didn’t care for the cartoon illustrations, they didn’t distract me enough from the text to care much one way or another.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I got this book off the ARC shelf at Kismet Books in Verona, WI. Consequently, I got an ARC that had incomplete artwork (large black boxes in some areas) and a few typos, all of which I assume will be adjusted for the final publication this month. Thanks to my friends in field biology, I already knew a little about the fact that certain species in the animal world had non-heterosexual sex and/or living/parenting experiences, but this book really lays it out there. Schrefer starts out explaining h I got this book off the ARC shelf at Kismet Books in Verona, WI. Consequently, I got an ARC that had incomplete artwork (large black boxes in some areas) and a few typos, all of which I assume will be adjusted for the final publication this month. Thanks to my friends in field biology, I already knew a little about the fact that certain species in the animal world had non-heterosexual sex and/or living/parenting experiences, but this book really lays it out there. Schrefer starts out explaining his purpose for writing the book, his personal identity, and defining some terms as he uses them in the book. He also includes longer definitions of some of the words in a glossary and several lists of related writings to consult if the reader is more interested. Then the author launches into the animal kingdom, a chapter at a time, to look at what those crazy animals are doing. He explains that non-heterosexual sex has been written off by judgmental people for years as "unnatural," because it does not occur in the animal kingdom, and Schrefer is here to say that is patently false. He covers penguins, doodlebugs, bonobo chimps, fruit flies, dolphins, Japanese macaques, deer, several species of fish, albatrosses, cattle, and ducks and geese in dedicated chapters, but with mention of other species in many of the chapters, too. And what he uncovers is centuries of discovery that animals do indeed have non-procreative sex (in many varieties) and mate for life with same-sex individuals and enter into polyamorous mating groups and have even change genders and/or copulate with themselves. He shares recent research, as well as old research that was originally not published because scientists knew it would not be taken seriously. In his own words, "Looking into the personal lives of doodlebugs teaches you a fair bit about bug sex, but a whole lot about human prejudice." He talks about the "other minds" block that some scientists (and really, everyone) has, imposing their own thoughts and feelings on individuals, whether they're humans or animals, and suggests this this construct is one of the reasons we do not fully understand the animal world - or the human world, for that matter. His writing is engaging, with little jargon, and clear definitions when he does have to use jargon. The illustrations by J. R. Zuckerberg are fun, if sometime a little odd, and add a nice break to the text. But even the page layouts have good spacing and wide margins, allowing for less print on each page and/or an opportunity for readers to make notes in the margin as they read. Between most chapters, there are even brief interviews with scientists in the field who identify in some way under the queer umbrella, but also study animals or insects. Overall, this was a great read with lots of new information for me, and I would recommend it to teens and older.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sally Kruger

    Readers hang onto your hats. If the book And Tango Makes Three and the idea of a male-male penguin couple raising a chick together has you running to ban it from the library, QUEER DUCKS (AND OTHER ANIMALS) might not be the book for you. However, if you are more open-minded or just plain curious and want to learn more about the animal world, I highly recommend this new release from author Eliot Schrefer. Animal behavior has been studied in one way or another since the beginning of science. An are Readers hang onto your hats. If the book And Tango Makes Three and the idea of a male-male penguin couple raising a chick together has you running to ban it from the library, QUEER DUCKS (AND OTHER ANIMALS) might not be the book for you. However, if you are more open-minded or just plain curious and want to learn more about the animal world, I highly recommend this new release from author Eliot Schrefer. Animal behavior has been studied in one way or another since the beginning of science. An area of interest that scientists admit they have observed and studied, but not frequently included in publications, is animal sexuality. Oh, there's plenty of information to be found about mating rituals and animal reproduction, but QUEER DUCKS puts the focus on a different area. Author Eliot Schrefer admits that as a confused, young, gay boy, he did discover the animal world might have some similar situations if not answers to sexual preferences and identity. In this book Schrefer combines scientific study and information with fun commentary about a variety of animals and their behavior. Beginning with the doodlebug's male-male attraction, Schrefer reveals that what most people normally assume is mating between a male and female, may not be the case. First of all, telling the difference between male and female doodlebugs, penguins, and many other species isn't as easy as one might think. Because of this, most casual observers probably miss the fact that animals regularly participate in same sex and bisexual sexual activities and more. Although animals use sex to reproduce, they also exhibit habits that suggest they participate in various forms of sex for the simple fact that they like it. Schrefer reveals it is common for female dolphins to enjoy sexual activity together, for bonobos primates to enjoy orgies on the regular, and that male-male action between bulls is quite common. QUEER DUCKS also includes interviews with wildlife researchers and biologists who provide even more unusual facts about animal sexuality. Their commentary adds not only an additional level of facts, but also an interesting look at career opportunities in science for budding science geeks. Aimed at an audience of readers age 14+, QUEER DUCKS is a fascinating read. I live on an inland, Michigan lake, and after reading this book I am now much more aware of the activities of the waterfowl I enjoy watching from my front porch. I will definitely be including this book on the required reading list for my future Adolescent Literature students.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I liked the content, and I learned about some things I hadn't known about before, which was nice. The chapter on the velvet deer was particularly cool to me. I do think the book could have been longer, as there are many more examples that could have been chosen, particularly in insects, but that's fine. I also didn't really mind the weaving in of the author's personal life examples/history, but I had a problem with the tone. It was just too informal. I don't mind informal, but this took it furth I liked the content, and I learned about some things I hadn't known about before, which was nice. The chapter on the velvet deer was particularly cool to me. I do think the book could have been longer, as there are many more examples that could have been chosen, particularly in insects, but that's fine. I also didn't really mind the weaving in of the author's personal life examples/history, but I had a problem with the tone. It was just too informal. I don't mind informal, but this took it further. There's a certain way that some people on social media type that reads as kind of oh I'm cool I'm one of you kids and this felt like that. Since this book is apparently for a younger audience, I didn't like that at all. But I am not a young person so who knows maybe they'll like it. One particular line that stood out was when the author was talking about a line from the TV show Glee. By calling it an 'old' show you are kind of hurting the feelings of millennials (which who cares, they're not the audience) but also the younger readers don't know what that even is so why include it? The interviews with various scientists were very cool, and I liked the list of resources in the back, though again, I wish there were more. I was not a fan of the comics in between the chapters, but again, that's just a personal preference. I do understand why the author wanted to talk about how thorny it can be to apply labels, especially labels meant for humans, onto animals when they can't tell us how they identify, but I think that could have been just handled in the introduction instead of being reiterated in every chapter. I am glad this book exists! 3.5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Okay, my new pie-in-the-sky dream job is to open a queer zoo. We're gonna have bonobos and penguins and doodlebugs and deer and there's gonna be all manner of same-sex spicy shenanigans going on. It'll be called Ménage Unlimited and it'll be great. (Only kidding, zoos are bad. Even gay ones.) This was a fun way to kick off Pride month, because while I knew about same-sex behavior in some animals, like penguins and certain primates (other than humans……wait, no, yeah including humans but in this cas Okay, my new pie-in-the-sky dream job is to open a queer zoo. We're gonna have bonobos and penguins and doodlebugs and deer and there's gonna be all manner of same-sex spicy shenanigans going on. It'll be called Ménage Unlimited and it'll be great. (Only kidding, zoos are bad. Even gay ones.) This was a fun way to kick off Pride month, because while I knew about same-sex behavior in some animals, like penguins and certain primates (other than humans……wait, no, yeah including humans but in this case, other than humans…..you know what I mean!), I had no idea how widespread it was and how complex the whole concept could be. It was really interesting to learn about the different ways various species get their rocks off and with whom, and also the many many ways scientists have tried for centuries to downplay it all, like nope nope, nothing to see here, def not an intentional sexual pairing here. Totally. I also really loved the conclusion to the book, where the author goes in depth on why this is an important thing to consider, and what we should—and should not—extrapolate from it or use it for. And I really appreciated the short Q&As with various scientists throughout the book. It's aimed at a YA audience so it doesn't go as in depth on some points as I would've liked, but that's okay. It was funny and informative, with great illustrations and plenty of fun trivia to bring out at parties. If you're the kind of person who goes to parties. Which I am not. Also: Doodlebugs get into some freaky shit. I don't judge. I commend.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review* “This is partly a book for lonely eleven-year-old Eliot, who only began to see himself as worthy of full respect many years after coming out” is one of the best ways to describe this book. It is for all the queer kids/adults who were (and sometimes still ARE) told that we are unnatural. I know tons of kids who could have used this book when we were growing up, and kids that, even now, might still find this book worth their time. Now on to *I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review* “This is partly a book for lonely eleven-year-old Eliot, who only began to see himself as worthy of full respect many years after coming out” is one of the best ways to describe this book. It is for all the queer kids/adults who were (and sometimes still ARE) told that we are unnatural. I know tons of kids who could have used this book when we were growing up, and kids that, even now, might still find this book worth their time. Now on to my review. I loved this book. I also loved the comic strips at the beginnings of chapters (that poor doodlebug! Kelch really ruined that poor guy’s life). It was great to read something that was both factual about nature but also wasn’t afraid to poke fun at just how weird the animal kingdom could get. There were also the historical facts about queerness in the human world that I found really interesting, and Schrefer’s commentary on everything was absolutely worthwhile to read. I don’t think I really needed to know about the Duke of Nevers and his thousands of soldier-satisfying goats, though.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Katherine Tegen Books for the digital review copy to read. This is an absolutely phenomenal book that wonderfully combines scientific research with personal memories, expert interviews, and historical discoveries, presented with helpful insight that translates biological research into useful real-world learnings. I'm so impressed that this book can have you laughing one minute and then have you critically assessing how scientific bias c Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Katherine Tegen Books for the digital review copy to read. This is an absolutely phenomenal book that wonderfully combines scientific research with personal memories, expert interviews, and historical discoveries, presented with helpful insight that translates biological research into useful real-world learnings. I'm so impressed that this book can have you laughing one minute and then have you critically assessing how scientific bias can be passed down (inadvertently or very intentionally) the next. I think a lot about how stories get into textbooks (and what is left out or exists only in researcher blind spots) and this book is not only fills in much-needed gaps but explains how those gaps emerge and what we can do to actively be more aware of it. Something else this book does well is avoid putting the whole complex human world of gender and relationships onto the animal kingdom, while also very clearly validating that there's nothing unnatural about diverse sexuality -- after all, look at the beauty of nature telling us exactly that.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I get that this book is trying to do, but I think it's doing that reaching thing that feels antithetical to what it's aiming to do. The idea that queer interactions both socially and sexually are not "against nature" as one so often hears is an interesting one. If you cut out the introduction and the personal stories that try so hard to make this connect to human sociology, this would be a fun book about queer animals in their natural environments. Who doesn't want to hear about the penguins of I get that this book is trying to do, but I think it's doing that reaching thing that feels antithetical to what it's aiming to do. The idea that queer interactions both socially and sexually are not "against nature" as one so often hears is an interesting one. If you cut out the introduction and the personal stories that try so hard to make this connect to human sociology, this would be a fun book about queer animals in their natural environments. Who doesn't want to hear about the penguins of And Tango Makes Three fame? Understanding that humans are also animals, this book was still just trying too hard to say "Look gay is in nature, [example] & [example] so I'm ok." I wanted to like this book, but it was just not the vibe. It was not what I had hoped and people looking for a light hearted pride read might want to skip this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caroline (readtotheend on IG)

    Really interesting, educational and engaging book about sexuality in the animal kingdom. Love reading about all the researchers in the field as well and how their research can influence their work as well. Wonderful on audio but I recommend reading it in print because they have some fun illustrations and cartoon excerpts. I think it would be important for queer youth to have a book like this because I feel like one of the most important takeaways is something the author expresses in his review - Really interesting, educational and engaging book about sexuality in the animal kingdom. Love reading about all the researchers in the field as well and how their research can influence their work as well. Wonderful on audio but I recommend reading it in print because they have some fun illustrations and cartoon excerpts. I think it would be important for queer youth to have a book like this because I feel like one of the most important takeaways is something the author expresses in his review - " Queer people are not anomalies in the natural world."

  22. 4 out of 5

    ButtonsMom2003

    Audiobook Review: Overall – 5 Performance – 5 Story – 5 Interesting and educational. I have to admit that the primary reason I requested a review copy of this audiobook is that Joel Froomkin was doing the narration. He is one of my favorite audiobook performers (using a different name) but I’ve also listened to several books he’s done as Joel Froomkin. I’ve never been disappointed listening to any of the books he’s performed. I found this book absolutely fascinating! I have never thought about any of Audiobook Review: Overall – 5 Performance – 5 Story – 5 Interesting and educational. I have to admit that the primary reason I requested a review copy of this audiobook is that Joel Froomkin was doing the narration. He is one of my favorite audiobook performers (using a different name) but I’ve also listened to several books he’s done as Joel Froomkin. I’ve never been disappointed listening to any of the books he’s performed. I found this book absolutely fascinating! I have never thought about any of the things contained in this book and had no idea that such animal behavior exists. Everything about this book was engaging and the way it was presented in the audio completely held my attention. I’m on the far side of 60 and I very much doubt if a book like this would have been allowed to exist in a school library back in my day but I think that it should be in all high school libraries. It may also be appropriate for younger ages but having no children I don’t feel I should comment on that. A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me at my request by the publisher but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Richards

    This was a well written book that covered as many of the possible connotations of LGBTQIAP+ possibilities that exist in the animal kingdom. This book doesn’t preach, just presents facts like that love is love, doesn’t matter what gender or identity. It was a quick read, easy to understand and able to be read in an afternoon. Very much enjoyed the education that I as a White, straight, cisgender male could receive by reading a fun book about animals.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Megan (ReadingRover)

    This book was funny and had some interesting animal info. The chapter that was the most fascinating to me was about the velvet deer. I work with fawns in wildlife rehabilitation and I had no idea that they could continue to keep their velvet as adults, form their own herd, and even take in orphaned young. The issue I had with this book was that I wasn’t sure who it was really for. It was listed as YA but the narration and exaggerated voices gave it more of a middle grade vibe. Then it would go in This book was funny and had some interesting animal info. The chapter that was the most fascinating to me was about the velvet deer. I work with fawns in wildlife rehabilitation and I had no idea that they could continue to keep their velvet as adults, form their own herd, and even take in orphaned young. The issue I had with this book was that I wasn’t sure who it was really for. It was listed as YA but the narration and exaggerated voices gave it more of a middle grade vibe. Then it would go into really detailed scientific descriptions of things that made it seem like it was geared more towards adults. I felt like it wasn’t consistent. 4 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Toby Murphy

    I just enjoyed this book. Schrefer does a solid job of making weighty scientific work accessible. The humor and voice in the book works well. At times, and maybe this is my own lack of scientific expertise, I had to reread a few parts. However, this is a great addition to YA non-fiction.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Brilliant, funny, engaging, thought-provoking, informative—I wish my teenage self could have grown up knowing what this book shows with such clarity and kindness: that queerness is very much part of the natural world.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I listened to the audio version of this book, which was fun and funny. I heard an interview with this author and he wanted to make a book for young people…a book that he didn’t have the benefit of having access to when he was a queer young adult. This is funny and informative!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jas

    “It does seem the more time you spend in nature, it brings about this radical acceptance and empathy, everything just is.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shan Ring

    Interesting and seems to be well researched. Warning: POV is very evident.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Loved this book! Informative while not being too heady and all while being humorous on a topic that has many nuances and strong opinions.

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