Stashed on shelves or behind dozens of lift-the-flap “drawers,” a cornucopia of monsters, miniatures, and other marvels from museum collections worldwide.
Arranged in 12 thematic collections, the curiosities—over 100—range from a preserved body louse in extreme close-up (“That red stuff is human blood”) paired with a glimpse of “Sue,” the renowned T. Rex fossil, in the “Monster Hunter’s Cabinet” to a “Tailor’s Cabinet” of outré historical fashion. There are also a variety of elaborately carved masks and creepy puppets or dolls, Tippoo’s Tiger (a toy tiger ravening a British soldier with a toy organ inside to emulate human moans), a matchstick model of the Titanic, gems, gold coins, and the world’s largest playable tuba. Each item comes with a short descriptive note and a museum (or other place, such as “On your head” for a head louse) where it can be viewed. Though most of the material has been gathered from the U.S and the U.K., institutions on every inhabited continent are represented. Different illustrators have designed each “cabinet” with a distinctive look and architecture, and the flaps vary in size from full-page gatefolds on down to slightly larger than postage stamps.
Wonders indeed on every hand, not to mention rich inspiration for budding curio collectors and naturalists. (Informational novelty. 8-12)