Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cool Animal Names


Dawn Cusick 

I have always found it amusing to take two completely different creatures and mash up their names to make a funky new animal. There is just something about animals and their names that make them fun to manipulate. The difference between that game and this book is that these animals actually exist.

Part One features one common animal and all the unique animals that share that name. For example, we are all familiar with elephants, but did you know there are also Elephant Shrews, Elephant Hawk Moths, and Elephant Beetles? Each of these has a photo and a paragraph on how their names were bestowed. Elephant Ear Coral are relatives of jellyfish that look exactly like a bunch of elephant ears piled up, while Elephant Seals have really large noses that resemble trunks. 

Part Two introduces different species and some of the unusual animals in those particular species. I think Owls are some of the coolest birds, and that was before I was aware of all the different types. Eagle Owls have two big tufts of feathers on their heads that look like a cross between giant eyebrows and tiny mohawks. They are the largest of all owls, earning their name by living in the same areas as eagles. Fish Owls have extra fringe on their feathers to help them fly quietly, so they sneak up on fish to eat. They also have spiny tipped toes for gripping those wriggling fish dinners.   

It is important to mention how visually stimulating this book is. In all, we are introduced to over 250 incredible animals, and treated to a photo of every single one. Most of the photos are surrounded by colorful circles and ovals, for a pleasing rainbow effect. The facts and tidbits presented are short little blips, ideal for reading aloud to younger kids. Interesting animals combined with a terrific presentation makes this a really cool book. 

Review copy provided by Charlesbridge.

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