A populous but indigestible flurry of paper-collage animal portraits, not exactly enhanced by inept rhymed commentary and pop-ups.
The survey begins with a spread of sharks headlined by a gaping 3-D great white, oddly placed over a round die-cut hole so that it looks hollow and a school of tuna on the next spread is visible down its gullet. The album proceeds to take viewers from ocean deeps to the jungle, a grassland and on to the South Pole in arrays that alternate between groupings of related creatures and representative general menageries. The animals are created with colorfully contrasting pieces of cut paper but look flatter and less realistic than Steve Jenkins’ similarly constructed images. They are identified on each crowded spread but aren’t shown to scale and mingle without reference to home continents. Though the great white does flash an anatomically correct five rows of teeth, the four pop-ups, particularly an emperor penguin with an angular head that looks more like a pterodactyl’s, aren’t realistic. The rhymes range from forced (“tenpins/penguins”) to meaningless (“Eyes peep down like mischievous flunkeys, / a chittering, chattering…troop of monkeys”) and include a reference to a “lounge of lizards.” Deutch offers a closing page of prose facts about selected animals that includes a confusingly punctuated reference to the emperor’s “ ‘brood’ pouch.”
A low-cal alternative to the more nutritious likes of Jinny Johnson’s Atlas of Animals or Jenkins’ magisterial Animal Book (both 2013). (Informational pop-up. 6-8)