[leggy review] Animals in Pants by Suzy Levinson and Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell

What? You’ve never seen animals in pants?!? 

Slip into your sweats and get ready for a good giggle with the likes of pelicans in pedal pushers, polar bears in snow pants, and yaks in slacks. 🙂

These are just a few of the curiously clad critters in this hilarious new picture book, Animals in Pants by Suzy Levinson and Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell (Cameron Kids, 2023). 

Debut author Levinson has fashioned 23 pithy, playfully perky poems, tailor-made for discerning munchkins who like their animals tastefully trousered. After all, there’s nothing like a rollicking pants parade to get a leg up on the latest trends. 

Levinson’s menagerie includes both domestic and wild animals thriving in a variety of habitats (farm, suburb, range, ocean, jungle, North and South Poles). It’s uncanny how she’s able to capture each animal’s essence in such a short rhyme, delighting the reader with an element of surprise and brilliant comic timing. 

Of course a cat with an attitude would wear custom-made tiger-striped velour pants, a tracksuit would be the attire of choice for squirrels showing off their acrobatic skills, and monkeys would prefer cargo pants (gotta have those pockets to carry bananas). 🙂

Along with these nuggets of truth and skewed logic, we learn new things about some of our favorites. Did you know penguins loathe formality, preferring jeans to tuxes, or that the poor manatee must face the prospect of his dungarees shrinking when they get wet (call him ‘Mana-Squeeze’)? And you’ve probably never considered a spider’s unique octo-challenge of having to put his pants on one leg at a time. 😀

Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell’s textured digital illustrations, rendered in a warm palette of oranges, browns, greens and blues, ramp up the fun with action packed visual narratives showcasing these clotheshorses in all their lovable seriousness and silliness. 

I love how this book is dressed in layers: the deftly crafted, seemingly simple poems feature interesting animals while getting us to really think about different kinds of pants – their various functions, appropriateness for certain activities, and undeniable appeal to certain personalities. Such a clever concept! And of course there’s the sheer joy of reading these verses aloud again and again just for the laughs. 

Ultimately there’s even more here than meets the eye: some of the humor in the poems is quite sly, packing a double punch. The final line in the last poem, “Animals in Line,” almost slipped by me . . . Levinson nails it every single time.

Though it’s impossible to pick a favorite, here are three poems that tickled my fancy pants. I’ve always been partial to elephants and appreciate their meticulous ironing skills. Love the Shakespearean flavor of the pantaloons poem (soup can in the illo!), and I’m happy to learn why giraffes wear kilts. 



Elephants never forget to do laundry.
They're always impeccably dressed.
Their skin may look wrinkled and crinkled and creased
but their chinos are perfectly pressed.



Hark, dost thou hear it?
Forsooth, 'tis raccoons!
They're feasting on foodstuffs
in fine pantaloons.



Pants: they don't fit when your legs are
like stilts.
That's why giraffes
wear kilts.


Don’t miss this one. Here’s your chance to get down with the funky chicken and peek under a turtle shell. You’ll love it – or just like the GOAT, I’ll eat my overalls. 😀

Oh, just one more thing:


written by Suzy Levinson
illustrated by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell
published by Cameron Kids, April 2023
Poetry Picture Book for ages 5-7, 32 pp.


The talented and lovely Jone Rush MacCulloch is hosting the roundup. Sashay on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week (pants optional). Happy Weekend!

*Interior spreads text copyright © 2023 Suzy Levinson, illustrations © 2023 Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell, published by Cameron Kids. All rights reserved.

**Copyright © 2023 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

20 thoughts on “[leggy review] Animals in Pants by Suzy Levinson and Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell

  1. Having visited Scotland last year, my favorite is “giraffes wear kilts”! Have a wonder weekend. We are sweltering here in NYC from an unexpected 2 day 90’s heatwave!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, finally reading your post about Suzy’s new book, & it is the cutest, cutest thing I’ve seen for a while! I love the idea you mentioned of spiders putting on theirs one leg at a time, hilarious! I will show the one pic shared with Ingrid, who adores manatees! And the end, animals in hats? Is that coming soon? Thanks, Jama, and cSuzy, Kristen and Kevin! Super fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I should remember that if I read your PF post before anyone else is awake at my house, I might giggle outloud. Too late–the cat knows I’m up and is bunting the food dish. What a fun book! I love the creative idea of it and the possibility of more books–series perhaps? Thanks for the giggles, Jama.

    Liked by 1 person

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