Animals from across the world assemble as Dieter Braun, the author of Wild Animals of the North and Wild Animals of the South, presents Wild Animals of the World.
Animals come in all shapes and sizes; tiny and gigantic, feathered and furry, slimy and scaly. They can be found across all seven continents of the world residing in forests and jungles, seas and skies, mountains and rivers, deserts and savannahs. No one knows quite how many populate our Earth. New species are regularly being discovered but every year many disappear. Extinction looms for even the largest and most powerful. A world without animals would be less colourful, less beautiful, less wondrous. Animals are amazing and this journey across the world is about to get wild…
Dieter Braun invites you to join him on a breathtaking journey across the seven continents of the world and get up close and personal with some of the animals that can be found on each. Over two-hundred-and-thirteen glorious pages, a procession of animals are introduced, some familiar others less so. All are stunningly illustrated using geometric shapes and would not look out of place in an art gallery. This is as much a visual experience as it is a non-fiction read of animal facts. Accompanying short informative paragraphs are rich in detail with a focus on location, habitat, diet, mating, appearance, survival skills, predators and all of the other things that make each animal a special part of the wonderful diversity of life on Earth.
Readers will love some of the more quirky facts that feature: the male ostrich can roar like a lion; the snow leopard is the world champion long-jumper of all mammals (jumping across 50-foot (15-metre) crevasses); the Japanese macaques who, when not learning the art of ‘snowball rolling’, love to spend hours splashing around in Japan’s hot springs. Others that wowed me and are stored to impress friends are the special ‘tricks’ of the Bactrian camel that allow it to survive in wildly fluctuating temperatures and incredibly harsh environments, the razor sharp incisors of a beaver that can bite through trees one metre in diameter, the Toco toucan and a beak that acts like an air-conditioner and the six-thousand spikes on an adult hedgehog (prickly!).
Whether admiring the striking pose of the Manned Wolf (not actually a wolf), staring back at the moody gaze of the Jaguar, ogling over the regal and peace-loving red deer or admiring the spectacular breaching humpback whale, readers will be left with a deep admiration for the wonders of nature. Personal favourites are the elegant fire salamander - also brilliantly known as ‘little rain man’ and ‘rain newt’, the mythical-like appearance of the golden pheasant, the splendour of the emperor Penguin and the smile-inducing blue-footed booby (evidently I have a thing for winged creatures).
Presented in hardback and with lovely thick pages, this is definitely a ‘table book’, one to leave out for the whole family, and for any visiting friends, to pore over, to get lost in and to be wowed by. Beginning with an impassioned foreword that not only celebrates animals but serves as a stark reminder to the human impact on the natural world, and ending with a quick reference index so you can jump straight to your chosen animal, this is a stunningly assembled package and will leave anyone who has the pleasure of looking at it with wide eyes and open mouths.
Non-fiction adventures in the wild don’t get much better than this!
Recommended for 8+.