cover image The Dictionary of Ordinary Extraordinary Animals

The Dictionary of Ordinary Extraordinary Animals

Lisa McGuinness and Leslie Jonath, illus. by Lisa Congdon. Running Press, $18.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-7624-4063-4

Less a dictionary that an alphabetically organized discussion of 150 animals, this informative guidebook combines casual descriptions of the animals with grainy illustrations reminiscent of vintage flashcards. With between one and three animals per spread, McGuinness and Jonath have ample space to focus on the surprising characteristics of animals like black bears (which can sometimes be white), hummingbirds, and Tasmanian devils, which use “a ferocious sneeze” as a way to challenge their enemies. Congdon’s paintings are characterized by naturalistic details and touches of surprising whimsy—an owl’s feathers are embellished in gold, purples, and reds—communicating a palpable sense of wonder in the bountiful diversity of animals. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)