The story is told in rhyming couplets that provide information about each symbiotic relationship, with an additional layer of text that provides more details about the particular animal behavior involved.
Just you and me.
Just me and you.
We’re perfect pairs!
Here’s what we do….
Some animals and plants form lifelong partnerships with other animals and plants, a relationship known as symbiosis. Then they cooperate and help each other in the most unlikely ways.
I hold you gently in each claw
and show you off—then you may gnaw
on treats I eat as I explore
the perils of the ocean floor.
The boxer crab carries a stinging anemone in each claw to scare away predators; the anemones then benefit by eating bits of food left over by the crab as it dines.
I love the perspective the illustrator chose for this spread. It shows just how small this crab is in comparison to the fish that’s considering it for dinner. And it’s interesting and funny to see the crab waving anemones like pompoms to ward off predators.
The narrative provides eleven examples from around the world, including the Nile crocodile/Egyptian plover, the boxer crab/anemone, zebra/ostrich, algae/sloth, woodpecker/saguaro, oxpecker/rhino, acacia tree/ants, pistol shrimp/goby fish, egret/large mammals, cleaner wrasses/fish and sea turtles, and something a child will be familiar with, bees/flowers.
At the end, the book circles back to the two children in the garden, with a wrap-up that expands the perspective to our planet. Because humans have a symbiotic relationship with Earth.
Learn how to draw a clown fish hiding in an anemone in this Art Lady video.
Learn more by watching this short cartoon Youtube video about the three types of symbiosis. Once you’ve watched the video, try to categorize the symbiotic relationships in the book.
Go underwater in this Untamed Science video about the three types of symbiosis. Its examples include cleaner wrasses, clown fish and anemones, and others.
Title: Just You and Me: Remarkable Relationships in the Wild
Author: Jennifer Ward
Illustrator: Alexander Vidal
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2021
Themes: symbiosis, animals, plants, planet stewardship
Ages: Elementary school
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.