Conventional wisdom tells us that the UK public won’t buy big hardback picture books. How nice, then to see this monster (18” x 12.5”) in our bookshops. First published in France, where books of this quality are genuinely appreciated, Zoo-ology is a magnificent visual tour of the animal kingdom. Jolivet’s hand-coloured linocut prints of individual beasts are arranged in stunning double page spreads, beautifully composed and clustered in unusual ways with dramatic contrasts of scale and shape. We have pages of animals that live underground, creatures that come out at night and those from warm climates and cool climates. Sometimes the selection is made on visual or aesthetic grounds – ‘spots and stripes’, ‘black and white’ and ‘big and small’; the latter spread being a particularly gorgeous arrangement including the whale, elephant, snail and earwig. A book of this kind not only introduces the young child to the species depicted, it brings him/her into contact with the graphic arts, particularly the best of the tactile, sensual experience of the book arts.
This is a book to be enjoyed and treasured by all ages and at £12.99 you get a lot for your money!