Animalia written by Graeme Base
Published by Penguin Books
At first glance, Animalia is simply a ‘learn the alphabet’ book. Then you lift the A–B flap and you realise you’re holding a treasure. Every illustration on every page is stunning.
The pictures are far beyond the single-dimensional ‘A is for apple’ or ‘B is for ball’. In Animalia, A is for ‘An Armoured Armadillo Avoiding An Angry Alligator’ in a Where’s Wally type of picture that is deeply dimensional and overflowing, quite literally, with ‘A’ objects.
Then you can move onto ‘B’, which is for ‘Beautiful Blue Butterflies basking by a Babbling Brook’. My favourite is ‘Q’ – ‘Quivering Quails Queuing Quietly for Quills’.
Children who read Animalia are not simply going to learn their ABCs. The pure beauty of words will come to life for them because the words are carried by the incredible pictures. As Graeme Base, the author, says on the title page,
Beyond the spell of written words,
A hidden land of beasts and birds.
Children will look at the pictures and play with words themselves then will naturally make up stories as they go.
This book would appeal all preschool kids, early readers and any adult who accidentally opens it. And kids who have seen movies like those based on C.S. Lewis’ story The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe will also appreciate Animalia.
CKT Book Reviewer