I’m a huge fan of award-winning author-illustrator Sami Bayly’s two previous books in this superb series of illustrated encyclopaedias that highlight just a few of the wonderful animals that we share the planet with. I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of her latest book, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature, and began reading full of excitement, wondering what amazing animals and plants would be revealed.
We all need a best mate right? Someone to scratch our back, to give us a lift, to help keep us safe, to offer a room for the night, to feed us. Sixty pairs of various plants and animals have got it all worked out down to a tee and know exactly who they need to be friends with. From spiders and lizards to crocodiles and birds to kinkajous and trees. Get ready to meet some of the most peculiar BFFs…
Featuring sixty peculiar pairs, Sami Bayly delivers a fresh, fascinating and sometimes frightening look at how different plants and animal species have become dependent on each other for survival. Bursting with incredible illustrations and all manner of trivia and facts, this non-fiction read is a cracking celebration of animals interacting with other animals and animals interacting with plants in order to survive.
The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. It is a world where protection is exchanged for food, grooming sessions are rewarded with a free ride, the most unlikely of animals become roommates, unexpected partnerships make the ultimate hunting team, and where bodyguards, camouflaging and dentistry are all on offer if you know where to look. The animal and plant worlds are weird, wild and wonderful.
Bayly knows her stuff and she wants readers to be clued up too, welcoming them with an introduction that promises ‘some of the most bizarre, wonderful and downright disturbing peculiar pairs that nature has to offer’ and introducing key scientific terms around the idea of symbiosis. Over double page spreads, beautiful hand-drawn illustrations bring each pair to life and a facing page features information-rich text. Shadow illustrations of the animals and plants next to a human/human hand provide a great size comparison.
Bayly’s passion and knowledge for her subject matter oozes throughout, the love and the care that has been put in evident on every single page; a beautifully designed embossed front cover, stylish end papers, detailed illustrations, the vast array of facts - both serious and fun, there’s even a fancy ribbon marker. Fabulous from first page to last, animal-lovers and curious minds of all ages will be amazed and delighted by this knowledge-rich read.
Sadly, this is the final book in what is an outstanding trilogy but that’s OK because these are the kind of books that you go back to time and time again such is their beauty. I have all three proudly sitting on my bookshelf and they are some of the best non-fictions books I own. Go and buy it, and if you haven’t got the others then buy those too, you won’t regret it.
With huge thanks to Hachette and Lothian Children’s Books for this superb non-fiction read.
Recommended for 8+.