Animals at Play

Rules of the Game

Marc Bekoff
Book Cover

HC: $19.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-551-6
Publication: Sep 08

Ebook: $19.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-553-0

32 pages
9 x 7
24 color illustrations

What can we learn from watching animals play?


Dogs chase each other and wrestle. Cats pounce and bite. These animals may look like they are fighting, but if you pay close attention— as world-renowned biologist Marc Bekoff does—you can see they are playing and learning the rules of their games. In Animals at Play, Bekoff shows us how animals behave when they play, with full-color illustrations showing animals in action and having fun—from squirrels climbing up a tree to polar bears somersaulting in the snow. Bekoff emphasizes how animals communicate, cooperate and learn to play fair and what happens when they break the rules. He uses lively illustrations and simple explanations of what it means when a sea lion swims with kelp in its mouth or when two dogs bow to each other. Bekoff also describes what happens when animals become too aggressive and how they apologize, forgive and learn to trust one another. This entertaining and informative book will delight every child and show readers how animals—and humans—interact when they are having fun.

About the Author(s)

Marc Bekoff (University of Colorado) is an ethologist and well-published author (including Ranger Rick) who travels the world speaking about animals and working with children. He co-founded Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ( with Jane Goodall, and working with her Roots & Shoots program, he teaches students about animals.

Michael J. DiMotta is a graduate from Maryland Institute College of Art. His children’s work and the rest of his portfolio can be seen online at:


In the Series

  • Animals and Ethics edited by Marc Bekoff

    Building on the idea that human and non-human animals share a common environment, the Animals and Ethics series will produce a wide range of books that explain animal behavior, show how humans’ decisions and dispersal around the planet affect animals’ interests and experience, and propose practical solutions to the ethical problems that arise from human effects on our world. The books will be rooted in the natural and social sciences, but the authors--mostly scientists, social scientists and philosophers—will write for a broad audience, including children.