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Animal Aficionado
「せつない動物図鑑」著者バーカーさんに聞く

20180818_250 American writer and illustrator Brooke Barker has had an affinity for living creatures since childhood, which has led her to discover many intriguing facts about them — and the harsh environments in which they live.

Whales that sing in the wrong key, for example, get lost and are alone in the ocean. Tasmanian devils produce as many as 30 offspring, but most of them do not survive because their mother has only four teats.

"The more you learn about animals, you'll find out they are sad, too," Barker told the Mainichi Weekly in an interview in Tokyo. Barker was in the capital to promote the Japanese version of her book "Sad Animal Babies," published this July, ahead of the worldwide release of the book's English version in October.

The 31-year-old author, whose first book "Sad Animal Facts" was published in 2016 in the U.S. and made the New York Times Bestseller list, shares unknown and surprising habits of animals from a "sad" perspective with her adorable illustrations.

Her knowledge stems from the information she absorbed as a child. Because her parents would not let her have any pets, she had no choice but to spend time reading books about animals. As a result, she absorbed a huge number of facts that she would not have learned if she had merely owned a pet, including the difficulties they face.

Cute baby animals, she says, are "even sadder than older animals," having to survive in tough environments. She pointed out that rabbits have a habit of leaving their babies alone for a long time. But while this seems harsh, it is actually a sign of caring — rabbits protect their babies by not putting their smell on them, as predators hunt rabbits by scent.

"I like learning about new types of animals," she said, adding, "There are new animals being discovered every day." From big creatures to small, readers may make some new discoveries through her latest book, too. (Story by Kobayashi Haruka)

[本文 - 329 words]

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【KEYWORDS】

aficionado 愛好家

have an affinity for ~ ~が好きである

(living) creature 生き物

intriguing 興味をそそる

harsh 厳しい(後出 tough も同意)

offspring 子

teat 乳首

"Sad Animal Babies" 「生まれたときからせつない動物図鑑」

"Sad Animal Facts" 「せつない動物図鑑」

habit 習性

perspective 視点

adorable 可愛らしい

stem from ~ ~に由来する

absorb 吸収する

have no choice but to ~ ~するしかない

a huge number of ~ 膨大な量の~

merely ~ ただ~するだけ

point out 指摘する

caring 優しさ、思いやり

smell におい(後出 scent は臭跡)

predator 捕食動物

週刊英語学習紙 毎日ウィークリーのサイト 「Mainichi Weekly」

Aug 17, 2018 1面 |