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Children's Nonfiction General

Pigs Aren’t Dirty, Bears Aren’t Slow

And Other Truths about Misunderstood Animals

by (author) Joanna Boutilier

illustrated by Ben Hodson

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2005
Recommended Age
7 to 9
Recommended Grade
2 to 4
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2005
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2005
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Sometimes our ideas about animals aren’t true—and often what we don’t know is downright shocking.

In this innovative book, beautiful detailed illustrations (accompanied by cartoons that playfully depict animal behavior) invite the reader to explore and discover the truth about 10 animals whose true selves you may find surprising.

Pigs are indeed clean creatures that prefer sleeping on the highest ground in a pen—away from where any waste might drain. And don’t let the size of a bear fool you. Over short distances some bears can run as fast as a horse.

Did you know that spiders drink their food? They inject prey with digestive fluid then suck out the dissolved goo. And don’t think sharks always swim in warm oceans; bull sharks have been found in the freshwater of the Mississippi, while blue sharks prefer the chilly waters of the Arctic Circle.

Pigs Aren't Dirty, Bears Aren’t Slow is crawling with myth-busting facts, and while Ben Hodson’s beautifully lifelike illustrations depict each featured creature, his hilarious cartoons demonstrate each critter’s “true” behavior—a truly fun and funny way to learn the facts about these beasts with bad raps.

Featured animals include:
• Wolves • Spiders • Pigs • Snakes • Bears • Owls • Bats • Sharks • Toads • Lions

About the authors

by Joanna Boutilier and illustrated by Ben Hodson

Joanna Boutilier's profile page

"Ben Hodson is an artist who loves a good adventure, like hiking the Rocky Mountains with rescued wild burros, living in a mountain village in Nepal, or drawing comics with youth in South Africa. These experiences bring inspiration and new perspectives to his craft. Ben illustrates mostly for children in books, magazines and textbooks. Ben is the 2004 recipient of the Glass Slipper Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Canadian Conference. He does presentations and workshops at local schools and libraries. Ben lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife May and his daughter Zoe. Please visit his website at"

Ben Hodson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“As good teachers do, Joanna Boutilier explains the facts behind what we think we already know ... While there have been individual books about particular animals that diffuse the stereotypes, this one serves as a good wide-angle introduction to scientific study, as it shows the gap between our interpretations of animal behavior and reality ... Good bibliography.” —Chicago Tribune

“... an enjoyable read ...” —Resource Links, 10/05

“High marks for vivid imagery ... Supported by a mix of small color photos, jocular cartoons and close-up, accurately detailed portraits, ... these lively excursions into the natural world will leave young readers with clearer views of how supposedly familiar animals really look, behave, and for the most part, play beneficial roles.”—Kirkus Reviews

“I am certain that this book will provoke much gleeful discussion between children and their woefully mistaken elders.”—Science Books and Films, 11/05

“This book will satisfy animal lovers ... a good addition to a library’s ‘gee-whiz’ animal books collection. Recommended.” —Library Media Connection, 02/06

Librarian Reviews

Pigs Aren’t Dirty, Bears Aren’t Slow: And Other Truths About Misunderstood Animals

“Who’s afraid of the big … shy wolf?” Discover the real story behind ten beasts with bad reputations! This book is crawling with surprising information.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2006.

Other titles by Ben Hodson