Archive | February 20, 2024

Sensational Australian Animals

Sensational Australian Animals

Sensational Australian Animals











Sensational Australian Animals

Stephanie Owen Reeder

Cher Hart

CSIRO Publishing, 2024

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


These days, when we read the word “sensational” we usually take it to mean “causing great public interest and excitement” but if we take it back to its original meaning of “relating to sensation or the senses” then we arrive at the core of this new, unique offering from CSIRO Publishing and Stephanie Owen Reeder.

For this is not just another book about Australian animals to join those already in the 590s section of your collection. Reeder begins by asking which sensations we associate with Australia – the sight of a flock of galahs, the sound of shrieking cicadas on a summer afternoon, the smell of koala pee raining down from a eucalyptus tree? Or perhaps the taste of prawns on the barbecue or the feel of a mosquito sucking your blood? By using our senses we navigate and make sense of the world around us, and so too do those creatures with which we share the landscape and environment.

And so it is through each of the senses that the reader learns about these creatures with the book divided into sections captioned The eyes have it, Did you hear that, Follow your nose, That’s tasty! and What a feeling. Each section begins with a diagram and brief explanation of how the human version of the organ works, and then explores how various creatures use their senses to navigate, survive and thrive in the natural world, including the super-senses like echolocation and electroreception.  From the large and common to the tiny and uncommon, hundreds of creatures have their secrets exposed in short paragraphs accompanied by detailed illustrations.  While the text is accessible to the independent reader, Reeder respects their intelligence by using or introducing the more sophisticated terms such as “otoliths” and “salivary glands” with each printed in bold type to indicate that it is explained in a glossary at the end.

A dip-and-delve book that will keep the budding naturalist intrigued for hours, this is most definitely one to add to the collection.