A natural-history guessing game, with sets of “bamboozling” hints to what animals lurk behind gatefold flaps.
Poliquin challenges readers to imagine which animal could be made up of, for instance, dinosaur feet, feather dusters, “a lion-killing kick,” three billiard balls, and a handful of like components. Lifting the foldover reveals the answer—an ostrich—along with explanations (the balls represent the bird’s eyes and brain) and additional facts, all delivered in a breezy style: During dry spells, ostriches “get moisture from grasses, roots, leaves, and an unlucky lizard or two.” Eggenschwiler realistically portrays the 12 animals and the sometimes-outré clues (a blender turns out to represent a tarantula’s digestive juices; a “3-legged woman” notionally suggests a red kangaroo’s ambling gait) in contrasting hues over corrugated monochrome scenes of mildly cluttered rooms, workshops, garages, and like settings. The author’s closing note on the exotic portmanteau creatures sometimes found in old travelogues points both to the source of her inspiration and a promising line of inquiry for budding naturalists with a historical bent.
Definitely bamboozling—but in a good way, as exercises in unconventional logic. (glossary) (Informational novelty. 8-10)