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

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Review: Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures

Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures is a celebration of creatures big and small.

Australia is home to many unique animals, and Tania McCartney has put the spotlight on some of them in Fauna.

It must have been difficult to choose which animals to include, but you'll find an eclectic and absorbing collection to explore.

Some animals take to the page on their own (hello koala, kangaroo, and platypus), while others are part of an ensemble (marsupials, invertebrates, birds, and so on).

All of them are special.

The animals are given labels identifying their conservation status, from least concern and near threatened, through vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered, to extinct in the wild, and extinct. This is part of spreading an important message about animal conservation.

The illustrations in Fauna are playful. Just look at the cover and see how many animals you can spy hiding amongst the flora. They are stylised in a way that makes the animals recognisable, and emphasises their features. Shapes and colours are well-used, and there are elements like height charts to show how different species compare.

The design of the page layouts is varied, helping to make reading Fauna an interactive experience. Flip the book from landscape to portrait to dive under the sea and read about sea-dwelling animals like the blowfish, blobfish, and wobbegong (yes, it is a real thing). Look for text call-outs for the lyrebird's mimicing ability, or the koala's bellow, and give them a try yourself.

If you want to find out whether a particular animal is included, go straight to the A to Z index, or the animal grouping index. There's also a useful Animal Family Tree, and a glossary.

In reviewing Fauna, I really have to share a few of its cool facts and figures. For instance, did you know that koalas have similar fingerprints to humans? That there can be up to one million Little Red flying foxes in a single colony? Or that kangaroos can't sweat?

Perfect for animal lovers, as an Australia-themed souvenir or gift, or for school projects. If you want to learn about some of Australia's most unique and curious creatures, you can't go past Fauna.

Title: Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures
Author/Illustrator: Tania McCartney
Publisher: National Library of Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780642279545
For ages: 7+
Type: Junior non-fiction