'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Review: Disappearing Acts

Subtitled A Search-and-Find Book of Endangered Animals, this highly-detailed visual creation takes kids on a journey around the world--peeking under the ocean, scaling the highest mountains, and deep into the most tangled rainforests.

Rather than categorising animals by country, the book very cleverly features each creature by habitat. We meet a snow leopard, a panda, a mountain gorilla and pygmy possum in the mountains.

We meet Elkhorn coral, a dugong and social wrasse on the reef.

We meet a sandhill dunnart, riverine rabbit, a bilby and an addax in the desert.

And as each spread unfolds, we are struck by the beauty of these critically endangered beauties. And it really is enough to make you cry.

At the end of the book, beautifully-designed pages feature each animal in more detail, outlining where they are found, approximate remaining numbers, a little more about them, and why they are so endangered.

With only 60 Amur leopards remaining, it holds the dubious title of the most endangered big cat in the world. There's only 6.700 Sumatran orangutans around. And 250 of the Cross River gorilla. The giant panda is down to 1,500, and the bilby comes in at just 600, with the sandhill dunnart at 100. The population of Elkhorn coral in the Caribbean has dropped by 85% in the past 30 years alone, with 95% of the scalloped hammerhead shark disappearing in that same timeframe. Heartbreakingly, the desert tortoise of North America--it's numbers are not known.

Endangered species are a relatively phenomenon, with many (if not most) reaching critical proportions in a frighteningly short amount of time, and with each and everyone of them directly impacted by the poor choices of our 'smartest' animal.

Vibrantly illustrated, this is an important book that all children should read. Hopefully it won't become a catalogue of extinct animals, but it really is books like these that raise awareness in the people we need to educate the most--the children who will inherit the perilous habitats we are leaving behind.

Title: Disappearing Acts
Author/Illustrator: Isabella Bunnell
Publisher: Cicada Books, $29.99
Publication Date: 1 June 2016
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781908714305
For ages: 3 - 6
Type: Picture Book