Jan Paul Schutten

Just Smell What I’m Saying

De taal van planten en dieren

The language of plants and animals

Can we talk to the animals? Do you understand what your pet is telling you, or what birdsong means? Animals and even plants have a great deal to say. How does maize send out SOS messages? If a monkey learns sign language, what does he talk about? Why do some frogs mime? Why does your cat nuzzle you? Is it true that barking dogs don’t bite? Are baby birds given singing lessons? Why do midges dance?

Just Smell What I’m Saying decodes the secret language of nature, explaining in simple terms what the sounds, smells and colours of the forest really mean. Jan Paul Schutten describes what some plants do to avoid being nibbled and how brightly feathered birds of paradise turn out to be less faithful than those with duller plumage. Each chapter contains humorous black-and-white drawings and fascinating facts to keep children amused for hours. Just Smell What I’m Saying shows what fun learning about nature can be.

Schutten writes in a clear and direct style that fills his readers with enthusiasm.

NRC Handelsblad

Jan Paul Schutten

Jan Paul Schutten (b. 1970), who has written over 35 books, is the Dutch king of non-fiction for young readers. He won a Vlag en Wimpel award for his debut Ruik eens wat ik zeg (Just Smell What I’m Saying, 2003). In 2008, he won the Gouden Griffel, the award for the best Dutch children’s book…

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Ruik eens wat ik zeg. De taal van planten en dieren (2003). Children's books, 121 pages.

Age: 9+
Illustrations Sieb Posthuma

Sample translation

English (PDF document)


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1012 WZ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 (0)20 760 72 10


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