Five cardboard-and-paper-bound, full-color volumes: outwardly alike, otherwise different, and altogether inconsequential....

READ REVIEW

ANIMAL GAMES; ANIMAL HOMES; ANIMAL SHAPES; ANIMAL TRICKS; SEASONS

Five cardboard-and-paper-bound, full-color volumes: outwardly alike, otherwise different, and altogether inconsequential. Animal Games has a brief line of text per double-page opening, imparts no information beyond what the pictures show (""Lion cubs bite tails,"" ""Kittens play with balls""), and mixes some anthropomorphism (""Foxes play King of the Castle"") into what is really a depiction of animal play--with pictures whose interest is exhausted at a quick glance. (None of these animals has more than a poster-like, emblematic reality.) Animal Homes presents a broader range of specimens (the first three are the snail, the armadillo, and the yak), interprets ""homes"" higgledy-piggledy to mean habitat or domicile (""Yaks live in the high mountains of Central Asia,"" ""Kingfishers live in burrows""), and provides a few sentences on each animal's habits--which mostly have nothing to do with said animal's ""home."" These, meanwhile, are very offhandedly pictured--the beaver lodge, for instance, is really indistinguishable from a brushpile. Animal Shapes, on the other hand, has virtually no text--just the word ""Zebra"" or ""Rhinoceros"" accompanying a naturalistically-drawn and a schematically-drawn zebra or rhinoceros. (A few of these pictorial pair-ups are of some slight interest as object-lessons in abstracting form.) Animal Tricks isn't based on natural occurrences at all--though a child presented with these books as a group might not immediately realize that. To a rhyming text (""This is the tiger who stood upside-down, / And this is the leopard who's playing the clown""), Wildsmith sets pictures of animals doing various outlandish things--few of which are even amusing, some of which are quite ridiculous (two giraffes with their long necks entwined). Seasons, to wrap up the lot, is a banal, visually unevocative reprise (flowers in the spring, bees in the summer, squirrels collecting nuts in the fall), and not a patch on dozens of other books. But this is a feeble enterprise to start with, offering nothing but the famous Wild-smith name.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1981

ISBN: 19-279731-X

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1981