Here is a welcome new edition of a favourite novelty picturebook bringing the reader playful activities with ten animals: Platypus, Trunkfish, Baboon, Alligator, Weevil, Ruby-topaz, Opossum, Caterpillar, Hermit and Mohoohoo. Each page is divided into three liftable flaps, one for the creature’s head, one for its trunk and one for its tail. Lift a flap and see what’s beneath –you’ll find the creature is transformed. So, for example, the Platypus can, with a flip of the head flap, become a ‘Tratypus’ while the Alligator, with a lift of the middle flap, becomes an Alleevitor –a bizarre creature that crawls into beehives and can be found ‘embedded by the nose, legs waving helplessly in the air’. There are 1,000 possible curious combinations and the written text accompanying each page changes ingeniously as the flaps are turned. Young readers not only enjoy the visual entertainment – the colours and patterns of the animals are hugely attractive and eye catching – but also encounter the curious names for the newly created animals and some humorous thoughts about their habits and lifestyles.
Many children both below and above the suggested age range would be amused by the transformations of the animals and likely to respond creatively. I can imagine the book as the centrepiece of a classroom display of children’s drawings of their own invented creatures matched with ideas for witty names and verses. But perhaps make sure that ‘budding zoologists’ do not miss the endnotes about the ten ‘real’ animals.