Animal Sidekicks by Macken Murphy, illustrated by Dragan Kordic

Publication Date: 5 April 2022

The Blurb

Amazing Stories of Symbiosis in Animals and Plants

Heard about the fish that clean shark teeth? Or the frog that lives with a tarantula? Welcome to the weird world of symbiosis – where animals form incredible relationships.

Macken Murphy, host of the popular animal podcast Species, introduces his favourite symbiotic relationships in his first kids’ non-fiction book. Along the way he explains the cool science behind the baffling behaviour of some animals – from friendly alliances to pesky parasites. Alongside him, illustrator Dragan Kordić skillfully brings to life head-scratching relationships in nature, including:

  • The crab that wears a sea urchin as a hat
  • The bat that goes to bed inside a plant
  • The warthog that takes a trip to a mongoose spa

You’ll even find out about symbiotic relationships including YOU! By the end of the book you won’t look at nature in the same way again!

The Review

An absolute must for animal lovers, Animal Sidekicks takes us across continents and below the waves in this stunning compendium of symbiosis in nature.

While some pairings will make you go oohhhh, others will definitely make you go eeewwww, and possibly itch, as we discover the different ways animals and plants work together or use each other to survive and thrive. From mongoose and wrasse spas where the hosts provide a meal for their cleaners and animal pairings where they protect each other from predators, to meals of a more sinister kind and con artists duping other species to bring up their young, Animal Sidekicks is a cornucopia of information to be delved into over and over again.

Each double page spread is captivating, whether as a full page illustration or broken down into separate stages of the relationship. We also see how we are damaging our environment and endangering species. The image of a hermit crab using a bottle top as a shell is particularly powerful.

I know this is going to be a huge hit in school and can see children enjoying this together. Teachers will love it too for a whole host of uses across the curriculum, from writing to science to art to reading for pleasure.

Huge thanks to Neon Squid for sending me a copy. You can take a look inside over at their website,


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