Friday, November 8, 2019

Fauna by Tania McCartney

Fauna by Tania McCartney
Published November 2019 National Library of Australia


Did you know that platypus have retractable webbing on their hind feet to enable an easy transition from swimming to digging? That kangaroos can’t sweat and that the cassowary has no tongue? In Fauna - Australia’s Most Curious Creatures, readers are constantly introduced to facts that delight, amaze and induce sheer wonder at the clever design and adaptability of our much-loved native fauna. 

The information on each individual species is presented in small ‘bites’ to hold the interest of younger readers, while the information taken in total gives a comprehensive summary of each species, including breeding and feeding habits, physical characteristics, habitat and other unique and quirky features. Fauna also has a strong conservation message with an ‘extinction roll call’ and a rating for the vulnerability of endangered species. 

The stylised illustrations in Fauna are lively, colourful and informative, highlighting facts that lend themselves more to pictures than words e.g. the actual size of crocodile teeth, or the mechanics of the echidna’s beak. There is also humour in the illustrations – is that kangaroo with dark glasses actually from a different kind of mob? Readers young and old will be delighted and informed by Fauna.

I love Tania McCartney's work, so I was pretty sure I would love this...

Now it has arrived and I absolutely love it.  It's just my kind of information book.  Beautiful to look at, with bite sized facts across each double page spread.  The information includes the straight forward facts that you would expect what the animals look like, where you can find them, what they eat.   Then there's the quirky facts, like, the Western Grey Kangaroo smells like curry. Or that echidnas can carry the world's longest flea, which can get to 4mm long.

Kids love anything that shows the 'actual size' and that's in here too...actual size of joeys and puggles, actual size of an echidna's spines and the actual size of a crocodile egg to name just a few.  

I personally have a thing for collective nouns, I love them...and guess what they're here too. There's a collective noun for each of the featured animals. I did not know that a group of echidnas is called a I do.

There is a more serious content included, and  we can see the current conservation status of each animal, from those that are extinct EX to those that are of Least Concern LC.  There's also a list of extinct, critically endangered and recent extinctions in the back.  

And finally...though I could go on, at the back there's a double page of Early Curiosities, with paintings that show early impressions of our unique fauna, along with some initial misconceptions, it also talks about how, to indigenous Australians,  these creatures were not so odd at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment