An oversized album of 80 common and lesser-known wild animals from three northern-hemisphere continents, identified by common and Latin names.
The draw here is the imagery: gorgeous, geometrically stylized silkscreenlike digital portraits, most filling at least a page. Some pictures stretch across a double-page spread; other animals get two, one frontal close-up and another, more distant image. Often there's a suggestion of appropriate habitat. The American lobster is shown both in its living blue-green and cooked red states. Half the images are accompanied by short paragraphs offering a variety of interesting facts. Calleja’s translation of the German text of this British import is sometimes awkward and in one case mistaken: the “King Duck” is properly a king eider. English spelling (“tonnes”) and metric measurements are used throughout. And, as can happen when an illustrator writes his natural-history text, there are occasional errors. The Kodiak bear was not the inspiration for teddy bears; that was the smaller Louisiana bear. The text repeats the unfortunate and no-longer-used name “oldsquaw” for the long-tailed duck and attributes the raccoon’s name generally to “Native Americans” though it comes from a specific Algonquian word. This title covers North America, Europe and Asia; a companion, not yet available in English, covers South America, Africa, and Australia. Thumbnails serve as an index.
Amazing art makes this a browser’s delight, but they should go elsewhere for solid information. (Picture book. 5-12)