The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals
Lothian Children’s, 2020
130pp., hbk., RRP $A32.99
Not content with introducing us to some of the world’s ugliest animals (shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award, natural history illustrator Sami Bayly has now collected 60 of the planet’s most dangerous creatures into another stunning volume.
Whether it’s the tiny hooded pitohui that weighs in at just 65 grams but is the world’s most poisonous bird, the boomslang whose venomous bite stops blood from clotting, or the more familiar crown of thorns starfish, each page introduces the reader to something new and mind-boggling. Should we be threatened by these animals or appreciate them for their incredible features?
As well as the usual information about what they look like, what they eat and where they live, there is also a paragraph about why they are so dangerous to humans or the environment and whether we are at risk of meeting one on our daily walks, especially as so many of them are Australian!. Fun Facts give each a bit of personality but it is the lifelike drawings that will hold the fascination of even the youngest reader. (This copy is going to a preschooler who could not get enough of Ugly Animals, even though he’s not quite reading yet.)
Unlike my mum I am unlikely to have an encounter with a leopard seal in the Sub-Antarctic Islands, but I am grateful that the local magpie couple have good memories and remember the hand (head) that feeds them and leaves our fibres for their nests during this swooping season! Time to offer them a little more mince as I’ve just noticed a teeny-tiny head rising above the nest!
One that will keep the reader entranced, particularly those boys who have a need to gather around one book and discuss what they find,