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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Animalium


When entering a museum, visitors decide which galleries to visit first. Opening this large (11" x 14.75") book, readers are faced with similar choices. Should they go to the galleries in numerical or evolutionary class? Should they look for the most unique animals or their favorites? In Katie Scott's and Jenny Broom's new book Animalium, a Welcome to Animalium message invites readers to "wander through the pages of the museum...to see the story of life on Earth unfold." A double-page evolutionary family tree follows that invitation, making clear the categories: invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals.

In the museum's pages, readers find a habitat diorama for each animal class, an ecosystem of the inhabitants, some examples of related animals, and sometimes a dissection of skeletons. "This is the only museum to house animals ancient and modern, enormous and tiny, vicious and vulnerable, between two covers." (p. 1) The book feels like what the creators/curators attempted to assemble: a museum within a book. Its hefty size makes it easy to imagine being a museum as one takes in the creatures and descriptions. 

Familiar creatures like Luna moths, red-eyed tree frogs, and emperor penguins are displayed next to animals new to my vocabulary, like the blue button jelly (not really a jelly but a zooid, another word new to me), the stoplight parrotfish, and the secretary bird. Fascinated is the best word to describe my reaction! Enchanted is how my 14-month-old neighbor might describe her reaction to it. She loved the cover, pointing to birds when asked and quickly pulling her finger away when she touched the snake! 

Though it might not fit in a backpack, readers will long to take this book home for an in-depth visit.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Jewel, It looks like a very sophisticated book, a large treasure to take home to savour! PS. Did you get the little pencils I sent you? (they just made an appearance on my blog...)

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    1. No pencils :( I waited all week, hoping they would be in the mailbox.

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