Carolyn S. Combs, M.S.

Author - Sharing Nature with Children


Book Image

I had a fantastic experience working with Dawn Publications (now an imprint of Sourcebooks) on my debut picture book, What's This Tail Saying? :

A peacock spreads and shivers his magnificent tail.  A wolf pup drops and tucks his tail.  In What's This Tail Saying? children look and listen for clues before making guesses about what the tails of 11 wild animals are saying. The answers are revealed in rhyme and back matter provides more information about the animals plus STEAM activities.  Illustrated by Cathy Morrison.  Available for pre-order on Amazon. Release date has been revised to May 1, 2020 due to the corona virus impacting shipments.


When one animal meets another in the wild, what's their tail saying? In this beautifully illustrated nonfiction book for the youngest readers, that question is answered for eleven different animals. Thoughts: I love nonfiction for young children that both entertains and teaches at the same time. What's This Tail Saying? does not disappoint. The illustrations are colorful and detailed. It's impossible to pick a favorite. The two Explore More sections (For Kids, For Parents and Teachers at the back of the book add a lot to this lovely book. Pair with Who Has This Tail? by Laura Hulbert, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look The Way They Do also by Jenkins and Page, I've Got Feet!, I've Got Eyes!, and I've Got a Tail all by Julie Murphy. Themes: Animals, Nonfiction

~ Bridget Wilson

What's This Tail Saying, Carolyn Combs. I really enjoyed this science book about animal communication. It settles into a nice pattern of question, answer and explanation, with a short rhyming couplet for the answer and then a sentence or two giving context and detail to the answer. (This was a deliberate pattern, as the backmatter explains in its hints for reading aloud.) This works well to engage the reader and challenge them to think while also keeping things interesting enough to want to keep turning the pages. The rhymes aren't forced so they don't interfere with the meaning of the tail talk. The back matter has resources for kids and adults. Kids get details about each of the animals featured on the pages while adults gets tips for reading aloud and then extension activities in several directions. I was interested in the ideas for discussion communication -- how do people communicate? What happens when they aren't understood? -- as well as the STEAM activities

~ Beth Mitcham