Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth’s Strangest Animals

Michael Hearst, illus. by Jelmer Noordeman. Chronicle, $16.99 (108p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0467-6
Hugely entertaining and just as informative, this guide to “unusual creatures” (defined by Hearst as an animal “that makes you stop and say, ‘Whoa, dude! What’s up with that?’ ”) proves that truth can be stranger than fiction. Striking an informal and sometimes ironic tone, Hearst introduces species like the echidna, flying snake, and narwhal, describing their physical characteristics, habitats, and behaviors, with tidbits, quizzes, and even poems neatly tucked into the crisp, guidebook-like aesthetic. Each animal appears in a matte illustration that combines naturalistic features with subtle hints of personality. Hearst often has great fun at his subjects’ expense (“blobfish: not as cute as the aye-aye,” reads a caption next to the forlorn-looking psychrolutes marcidus) while delivering fascinating insights into what makes each of these animals extraordinary. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 112 pages - 978-1-4521-1985-4
Paperback - 109 pages - 978-1-4521-3645-5
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