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Ben Rothery's Weird and Wonderful Animals (cover)

Publisher: Ladybird Books, London

Publication Year: 2023

Binding: Hardback

Page Count: 48

ISBN Number: 9780241532294

Price: £ 14.99

Ben Rothery’s Weird and Wonderful Animals

Divided into sections covering some of the world’s strangest creatures found inhabiting the air, earth and water, Ben Rothery’s latest children’s book takes the reader on a journey peppered with some astounding facts and figures, and truly outstanding illustrations. The book touches upon 16 categories of animal, and these range from single species, such as the Bearded Vulture, Paradise Flying Snake and Giant Anteater, to an entire phylum in the case of the tardigrades. On the way, it takes in various classes (coelacanths, amphibians), orders (monotremes, bats, octopuses) and families (woodpeckers, toucans, hornbills, elephants).

I read this book with my six-year old son, and it certainly held his attention. He loved the facts about the indestructible tardigrades, how many ants an echidna can eat at once and delayed implantation in Binturongs. We were both astonished by the photographic level of detail in the illustrations, and wondered how long it took to produce each one. My son’s favourite pictures were of a toucan (the book didn’t say which one), flying fox and an Axolotl, looking like an alien floating in space. My son appreciated the visual contents, and I also thought the glossary at the end was useful, with every term explained in a way accessible to primary school children.

The book ends with a rallying cry to protect the Earth’s animals, and I’m sure by sharing the author’s obvious passion and awe at the creatures he’s drawn and written so engagingly about, some children will feel inspired to do just that when they grow up.

Book reviewed by Viola Ross-Smith

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