Paintings, poetry, and lyrical prose celebrate animals of all sorts.
From blue whales to blue morpho butterflies, camels to coral, sea turtles to snails, Davies finds something young readers will find appealing and memorable about all kinds of animals. This striking, oversized album, first published in England, groups over 50 poems and snatches of carefully crafted prose into sections corresponding to topics: sizes; colors and shapes; homes; babies; and animals in action. The pleasing poetry makes liberal use of imagery, alliteration, and slant rhymes. The writer imagines monarch butterflies at their winter home: “clothing, covering, the trees / in a thick coat of living flame / that shimmers as a shiver passes / from wing to wing to wing.” This lyrical language is matched by sumptuous illustrations beautifully reproduced on glossy, oversized pages. Most poems are set on one side of double-page spreads, allowing the paintings ample, deserved room. Each animal is portrayed against a background that suggests something about its usual habitat. Horácek uses a variety of materials including wax crayon, acrylic and watercolor paints, and cutouts. The vibrant color and texture may remind some of the work of Brian Wildsmith. Each section ends with a spread of fast facts: characteristics of different animal groups; spots and stripes; parasites; eggs; and animals using tools.
A treasure for readers of any age who delight in the natural world. (Informational picture book/ poetry. 4-10)