If The World Were 100 Animals
Red Shed, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
“The total number of individual animals on Earth is believed by some to be 20 000 000 000 000 000 000 or 20 quintillion or 20 billion billion.”
That’s a number that only someone like Elon Musk can visualise so this clever book makes it manageable by reducing it to just 100 animals, and dividing them into vertebrates (just 6) and invertebrates (94). Then, like its counterpart If the World were 100 People, it uses double page spreads to investigate the characteristics of those 100 with questions such as what makes invertebrates different to invertebrates, did you hatch from an egg and which animals are the most deadly to humans.
It’s layout with plenty of illustrations and info-filled captions make it both visually appealing and readily accessible to younger readers so they not only learn a lot but can have intriguing facts to roll out during dinnertime conversation. Fancy being able to drop a fact such as “Of all the animal species that have lived on this planet, only 10 are still living. Ninety are extinct,” into the chat to start a lively discussion about conservation. Particularly relevant when it is feared that by 2050 – less than 90 years away – more than 1 000 000 species of animal that inhabit our planet today will be extinct including the polar bear, rhinoceros and gorilla because of climate change, pollution, deforestation and overfishing.
So what are the big questions we need to ask ourselves and what action do we need to take? This is an important book that reduces the issues to a scale that the child, who will be the adult in 2050, can cope with and understand and perhaps drive the actions that are critical.