Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Book Review: The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts

Title:  The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts
Author:  Maja Safstrom
Genre:  Non-fiction
Publisher:  Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC
Number of Pages:  119
My Rating:  4.5 out of 5

This book is not at all what I expected it was going to be. I thought it would be heavy in words and light in pictures, somewhat like an encyclopedia. But it's actually light in words and heavy in pictures, somewhat like an art display at the museum. Once I embraced this new reality, I came to the conclusion that I was utterly and pleasantly surprised. This is a delightful little book. For all ages. Truly, a seven-year-old boy will get a kick out of it as much as a 40-year-old working woman and a 90-year-old grandpa and everyone in between.

Both covers are highly appealing with their muted teal backgrounds and crisp black-and-white drawings, and every page is filled with whimsical illustrations and interesting scientific facts. At my age, I've already learned about half of these facts, although remembering them is another story and therefore a good reason to read (and re-read) the book and be charmingly reminded. Keep it on the nightstand, the coffee table, or better yet, the dinner table for impromptu guessing games.

Little Johnny will appreciate the occasional bathroom humor ("Mosquitoes not only bite you -- they also pee on you!"), Mom can likely commiserate with the pregnant kiwi whose egg is "so big that it makes her belly touch the ground," and introverts will be jealous of the snail's ability "to go into its shell and hibernate" until the weather improves. Those are just a few of the gems that Safstrom offers the reader about 55 creatures, from crocodiles to tarantulas to penguins to cockroaches. Some details are lovely, some details are gross, and all of the details are fascinating.

This is a delightful little book. Well done, Maja Safstrom. You brightened up my day.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from for review. 

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