This British import provides a brief introduction to the animal world with depictions of 12 different creatures in striking illustrations, with a short paragraph of description for each.
An arresting cover image portrays a springbok staring out at readers, with the animal’s body filled in with a scrap of flowered fabric and metallic gold highlights ornamenting its horns. The title is set in metallic gold letters, and touches of gold add highlights throughout. Enchanting illustrations are the book’s dominant feature, with a distinctive style combining pen and ink, watercolor washes, and fabric and wallpaper scraps. These disparate elements are used in combination to show swimming sea turtles with curious expressions, floating butterflies, and a school of smiling herring. Snow geese wear pink wallpaper patterns, and zebras appear with the usual black-and-white stripes as well as alternative patterns of polka dots and diamonds. There is no logical flow to the arrangement of the different animals, birds, fish, and insects, with a rather jarring effect as the environments move arbitrarily from water to land to air and back again. The text’s sentence length and vocabulary make this book suitable for school-age children, and the descriptions are composed of interesting snippets of information rather than a comprehensive overview.
Children (and adults) who like unusual illustration styles will be entranced by these creatively depicted creatures. (Picture book. 4-8)