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Children's Nonfiction General

Friend or Foe

The Whole Truth about Animals That People Love to Hate

by (author) Etta Kaner

illustrated by David Anderson

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Nov 2015
General, Opposites, Peer Pressure
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Rats, mosquitoes, bats, cockroaches, leeches, vultures — it’s easy to fear and despise them. But are they all bad? You probably know that rats destroy food supplies and can cause house fires when they gnaw on electrical wires, but did you know their supersensitive noses can help detect tuberculosis or even land mines?

Are these conventionally icky critters really public enemies, or do they have merits worth appreciating? Friend or Foe takes a close look at what we dislike about each of 10 unpopular animals, and then presents the flip side: these very same animals are often smart, helpful to humans and the environment, or inspiring to scientists.

After each pair of polarizing spreads, readers are asked to decide for themselves if the animal is friend or foe. Fascinating research and anecdotes, fun design inspired by propaganda posters, and playful use of persuasive language and point of view make Friend or Foe an engaging read that will leave readers reconsidering common perceptions.

Informational text features: table of contents, headings and labels, index

About the authors


ETTA KANER est une ex-enseignante. De nos jours, elle écrit principalement des documentaires pour les enfants et les éducateurs. Plusieurs de ses livres ont été primés; elle a notamment remporté le Silver Birch Award, le Animal Behavior Society Award et le Science in Society Book Award. Etta vit à Toronto, en Ontario.


ETTA KANER writes for both children and educators. A number of her books have won awards, namely, the Silver Birch award, the Animal Behaviour Society award, and the Science in Society book award. Etta lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Etta Kaner's profile page

David Anderson is an illustrator and cartoonist with a background as a political cartoonist in several South African newspapers. His Canadian clients include Kids Can Press, Rogers Media, Bell Global Media, Can West, Nissan Canada, General Mills, and Met Life. He has won several national awards, including The Standard Bank Cartoon of the Year (South Africa) and the Duncan Macpherson Award for Editorial Cartooning (Canada). His work is syndicated worldwide by The New York Times Syndicate and Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate in California. He is also the author and illustrator of two children's books, and the illustrator of And The Winner Is... (Kids Can Press, 2013). David is based in Toronto, Ontario.

David Anderson's profile page


  • Commended, Texas Topaz Nonfiction List
  • Finalist, Silver Birch Nonfiction Award
  • Long-listed, Alberta Rocky Mountain Book Awards
  • Long-listed, Nominated for the Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Willow Awards
  • Silver Birch Nonfiction Honour Book

Editorial Reviews

"A fun, interactive, and high-interest exploration of biology basics."


"Etta Kaner's conversational, persuasive writing style allows readers to consider different viewpoints in a highly entertaining manner."

The National Reading Campaign

"Presents in turn a selection of destructive or disgusting habits, then beneficial behaviors."


"Friend or Foe will be fun to read on one's own or to share with a friend...these accounts are good examples of valid pro/con arguments to get kids thinking critically, learning how to defend their own point of view, and to have empathy for the opinions of others. Highly recommended."

Canadian Review of Materials

"Well written using simple language injected with good humour and some drama."

Resource Links

"I learned a lot of stuff. This is an awesome book!"

Kids' Book Buzz

"A fascinating book."

School Library Journal

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