18th July '16
Animal Surprises is a stunning addition to children's non-fiction books. It is richly illustrated by Abbie Cameron whose use of colour and texture really helps to bring the animals alive on the page. The aim of Animal Surprises is to showcase the unusual and the unfamiliar as well as more well-known animals and this is summed up by the book's refrain, "Creatures of all shapes and sizes, some you'll know and some... surprises!"
Nicola Davies's rhyming text is great fun to read aloud. Her language choices are really expressive and will help to expand your child's vocabulary. For example, animals are described as scaly, curly whirly and squat. Minibeasts squirm and squiggle. Bats have flapping, gliding, zooming wings. Davies has a degree in zoology and so her text contains specialist vocabulary too. I had to look up what was meant by dolphins' flukes.
The book has been produced to a very high standard by the publishers, Graffeg. The paper is of a lovely quality and the book is gloriously saturated with colour. I really like the variety in page layout too and the creative interplay between the text and the illustrations.
The book ends with a match the tail to the animal puzzle and there's an additional interactive element on the minibeast page too. Oh and if, like me, your knowledge of zoology is somewhat lacking, Graffeg have produced a very handy guide to all the animals in the book that you can download from their website. (I had envisaged frantic research on my part before sharing the book with my son!)
There are two more books in the series and we definitely want to read them too - they look just as brilliant.