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by Margaret Hynes, illustrated by Andy Crisp

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7534-6887-6
Publisher: Kingfisher

Chock-full of ingeniously designed infographics, this quick but memorable comparative survey of the animal kingdom offers fresh insights on nearly every page.

The 26 single-topic spreads range from looks at major classes and phyla to animal senses, records and conservation. Each features a cleanly laid-out mix of graphic-style animal shapes and explanatory captions or introductory hooks (“There are more animals in your bed than in any zoo in the world”). Though some of the images are straight-up illustrations, far more often they are sized, ordered or arranged to reflect adjacent statistics or other measures—as percentages of endangered species, the frog silhouette representing amphibians (41 percent) is nearly twice the size of the mammalian elephant (25 percent), for instance. Some graphics, such as a chart comparing daily food intake and waste production in terms of body weight, are as droll as they are informative (picture, if you can, a blue whale and an elephant sitting on toilets). Others convey multilayered messages, such as the six animals (none, pointedly, human) perching atop bars that resemble pedestals in a chart of average time males devote to child care.

A dandy demonstration of how vividly information can be presented when numbers and pictures are linked in inventive ways. (index, further reading) (Nonfiction. 8-11)