Ben Rothery’s Weird and Wonderful Animals

Captivating depictions of extraordinary creatures.

A sense of awe is immediately stirred by the astonishing lifelike quality of the illustrations (on par with other works by Rothery). Individuals of all ages will eagerly examine these visuals. Various categories of creatures are explored, categorized by sky, land, and sea; each one bursting with life as they soar, scamper, or glide off the pages. Some will likely be recognizable (like the elephant, octopus, or jellyfish), while others may introduce readers to new species (such as the binturong, coelacanth, echidna, or tardigrade). With the exception of the two monotreme species and the amphibians, every creature’s fundamental details (habitat, size, wingspan, weight) are presented in both metric and imperial units. Certain creatures, like the majestic bearded vulture, are granted two expansive double-page spreads, whereas airborne reptiles and a singular amphibian share a single spread. However, all subjects are depicted with equal precision and attention to detail, rendered in vibrant and accurate colors. The sense of wonder is deepened by the succinct descriptions of each animal’s distinctive characteristics, whether it be their shape, coloration, or behavior: the intriguing quirks that render them “peculiar.” Key terms highlighted in bold are elaborated upon in a glossary. The concise narrative may leave readers with lingering questions (such as the venomous nature of a flying snake), and while the illustrations are magnificent, they have their limitations (as in depicting the intricacies of a woodpecker’s tongue mechanism, where platforms like YouTube excel). Both the main text and the concluding remarks address the various threats posed by humanity to the ongoing survival of these creatures.

An exceptional starting point, igniting curiosity and encouraging further exploration. (Educational illustrated book. Age 7-10)

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Author: Ben Rothery 

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Mary Owens

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