First published in 2018, the A-Z of Australian Animals is now available as a paperback and is the perfect accompaniment to Jennifer Cossins’ Ultimate Animal Alphabet Book, Ultimate Animal Counting Book and A-Z of Endangered Animals.
To say that Australia has a rich and unique collection of wildlife is somewhat of an understatement. Australia is home to more endemic - meaning they are only found there - animals than anywhere else in the world, has over eight-hundred bird species, over half of which are found nowhere else in the world, and is home to the only egg-laying mammals in the world.
Over fifty-two fact filled pages, we get to meet twenty-six of these amazing animals, all of which are native to Australia and most of which are endemic. Beginning with the azure kingfisher and ending with zebra finch, the A-Z features lots of instantly recognisable animals and a few lesser known ones too. From the fabulous frillneck lizard to the colourful mulga parrot to the quokka (quite possibly the world’s happiest animal) to the sugar glider. Whether you live in Australia and are learning about the animals that you share the land with or are an outsider looking in there is much to enjoy and admire. Expect oohs and aahs, cutes and cools, wows and woahs as the pages are turned.
Each animal is presented over a double page with an abundance of information to satisfy knowledge-hungry animal enthusiasts; habitat, location, lifestyle, diet, hunting techniques, offspring and appearance are all referenced. Quick reference facts are given for scientific name and size and an interesting fact is sure to grab the attention. Each animal is brought to life through one of Cossins’ beautiful hand-drawn illustrations on the facing page.
With lots of teaching and learning opportunities it will hold much appeal to a wide audience. For younger children it will support knowledge of the alphabet alongside introducing them to some fantastic animals whilst older readers will enjoy learning about the animals and the conservational aspects.
It cannot have been easy to choose animals for many of the letters. How do you choose between a brush-tailed possum or a bilby, an echidna or an emu, a kookaburra or a koala? And whilst some animals have been left out, this does throw up its own learning opportunities. I can imagine children discussing which animals they would have chosen for each letter, carrying out further research and possibly creating their own alternate A-Z of Australian animals.
With huge thanks to Lothian Children’s and Hachette for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 6+.