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Clever Hans: The True Story of the Counting, Adding, and Time-Telling Horse

By: Kerri Kokias

Illustrator: Mike Lowery

In 1904 Berlin, Germany, Mr. Wilhelm von Osten discovered a curious thing about his horse, Clever Hans. If Mr. von Osten asked Clever Hans a math problem, he could solve it. If he asked him what time it was, he could tell him. If he asked him to read music, well, he could do that too!

People were amazed that an animal could answer questions like this, and some really didn’t believe it at all. Clever Hans divided the community—many were proud of his accomplishments, but many were skeptical: was Mr. von Osten just a trickster, or could Clever Hans really do all of these things?

Many scientists came to study Clever Hans, but only one discovered something no one was expecting. After hours of examination, Oskar Pfungst realized the horse hadn’t learn to read or tell time—Clever Hans had learned how to read the people around him, and give the answer they wanted. This led to the development of the double-blind study, which changed the course of scientific inquiry forever.

Kerri Kokias and Mike Lowery have teamed up to tell this incredible story in a dynamic, eye-catching and humorous way.

Author’s note. Bibliography. Full-color illustrations rendered with pencil, traditional screen printing, and digital color.

ISBN: 9780525514985

JLG Release: Aug 2020


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Clever Hans (horse) , Wilhelm von Osten (1838 - 1909) , Horses , Animals , Germany , Biography , History of testing animal intelligence , Intelligence tests

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Praise & Reviews

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School Library Journal

School Library Journal

This picture book shares the story of Clever Hans, a horse who could supposedly count, add, and tell time. Wilhelm von Osten, who lived in Berlin in 1904, owned Hans, an intelligent, talented horse. Crowds appeared on the street daily to observe Hans. Scientists, scholars, and others came to prove that the horse’s skills were a hoax. Oskar Pfungs This picture book shares the story of Clever Hans, a horse who could supposedly count, add, and tell time. Wilhelm von Osten, who lived in Berlin in 1904, owned Hans, an intelligent, talented horse. Crowds appeared on the street daily to observe Hans. Scientists, scholars, and others came to prove that the horse’s skills were a hoax. Oskar Pfungst, an assistant of psychologist Carl Stumpf, put blinders on Hans. He determined that the horse needed to see in order to count and tell time. This “discovery” led to the theory that the horse was really interpreting people’s faces and body movements to determine if he was right. Pfgunst continued to explore this early concept of body language. The book ends with an explanation of the “Clever Hans effect” (an actual term in psychology) as well as how scientific interpretation requires double-blind testing. Lowery’s realistic, cartoon-style drawings are appealing. A unique and enlightening story about a lesser-known historical moment and its effects on the field of psychology that would work well as a read-aloud or jumping-off point for a unit on animal and human intelligence and psychology.

Book Details

ISBN

9780525514985

First Release

August 2020

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

636.10092

Trim Size

9 1/2" x 10 1/2"

Page Count

32

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

G.P. Putnam's Sons

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Clever Hans (horse), Wilhelm von Osten (1838 - 1909), Horses, Animals, Germany, Biography, History of testing animal intelligence, Intelligence tests,

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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Book Genres

Picture Book

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