Here is a very original book about animals which is unputdownable! Talented author illustrator Brooke Barker includes interesting animals from across the globe such as jaguars, roosters, gars, humpback whales and deep-sea mussels. The double page spread towards the front of the book clearly labels the animals and continents where they can be found. This seems to be in place of a contents page or index which are not included. Brooke Barker combines amazing facts with details about the scientists involved in researching them, frequently with a large dose of humour!
In each chapter I learned some very useful information e.g. ‘There are 20,000 different bee species’ (p.50). In addition, the chapter on mussels covered geothermal vents which I had never come across before. I was hooked by the graphic novel style of the volume which is clearly laid out throughout. The font used is very accessible and the design of the paperback has been well thought out. Whilst I have used the 8-10 age guide this fantastic book would suit older ages too. I am sure it will be well read by budding scientists as well as their parents and teachers. It is fun to learn that meerkats make their decisions as a team and that midges on Antarctica are frozen for eight months per year!
Throughout this colourful and attractive volume the author generously pays tribute to the scientists who spend long hours watching the animals and studying them. By including the scientists’ names, she personalizes the chapters, and the enthusiasm for their work is very inspiring. In the chapter on dogs Natalia decided to study them as she owned a dog for ten years. Such stories enthuse the reader and encourage them to continue. I have no hesitation in recommending this work to STEM students and their teachers, librarians, parents, carers and their young people.