That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things
If you are planning on raising a vegetarian child who will be well-prepared to explain his or her beliefs to inquiring peers, teachers, and friends’ parents, That's Why We Don't Eat Animals is a great start.
Did you know that turkeys blush? Or that newborn quail start walking the moment they are hatched from their eggs? I didn’t, but any child who reads That's Why We Don't Eat Animals will know. Facts like these work to emphasize the connections between living things in a way that small children in the book's targeted audience (about age 4 and up, in my estimation) will understand and appreciate.
The book shows animals in their natural habitats, and explains the difference in the quality of life an animal will experience if it is running free versus living in cramped quarters on factory farms. The book also illustrates the effect that factory farming has on various biomes and the health of the Earth overall. The animals are charmingly drawn in a caricaturist, almost geometric style, and their environments are depicted with bright or dark colors, depending on their living conditions. The vocabulary is simple and straightforward, doesn’t get too dark or complicated for children, and avoids a preachy, overbearing tone in favor of a sensitive, informative one.
In another review I’ve written this month on a book promoting the vegetarian lifestyle, I’m not nearly as praiseful. The books share primarily the same messages—that eating animals is morally shady and bad for the environment—but the book for adults tends to alienate and divide, as if putting meat-eaters and vegetarians on opposing sides of a war, while the children’s book emphasizes the connectedness of living things. Whether or not the children ingest the other moral and environmental messages of the book, that one message trumps all.