Friday 12 December 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 12th December 2014 - "Animalium - Welcome to the Museum" by Jenny Broom and Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)

Animalium - Welcome to the Museum

Written by Jenny Broom

Illustrated by Katie Scott

Published by Big Picture Press

Welcome to natural history in all it's glory! When we first heard about Animalium, and saw those initial few illustrations our curiosity was piqued. It sounded exactly like the sort of book we'd be able to lose ourselves for hours in, just like we love losing ourselves in our local NH museums (we're very fortunate enough to have one of the best Natural History museums outside London in our locale, the awesome University Museum here in Oxford and we'll quite happily disappear into that wonderful place to check out all the astonishing creatures therein).

Jenny Broom and Katie Scott are our curators for a fantastic journey through the animal kingdom. They wanted to recapture the magic of museums in book form, and they've done so with aplomb. Here in "Animalium" you'll find collected together animal species both familiar and unfamiliar, in their associated classifications with historical information about how species are named, and showing the particular traits of each species too.

The book is HUGE, hardback and luxuriously presented - feeling like a weighty Victorian tome on genus and species - and the illustrations feel like they hark back to that era where each animal drawing was meticulously worked on and rendered in beautiful detail.

The text respects children's thirst for knowledge. There's no dumbing down here, but at the same time the book doesn't feel cold and scientific. It's extremely inviting and absorbing, and you can't help but be drawn in (I will freely admit to tucking myself up with this book when Charlotte is fast asleep, it's truly dazzling for a really broad range of ages).

Charlotte's reaction to the book was similar, and she loves picking through the myriad facts and figures about the animals, but above all it's the sort of book that demands to be sprawled out on the floor with, thoroughly explored from cover to cover - better still if done so as a shared experience.

It's been fantastic to see this book taking pride of place in stores too, in both the standard edition and the gorgeous deluxe version that looks like its own museum cabinet.

Thoroughly recommended, it's a real 'wow' book this, and if you want an absolutely beautiful book to give to your children this christmas, it's utterly perfect!

Charlotte's best bit: A fascination with all things squid and frog-like (particularly the cute Tomato Frog - well Charlotte thought it was cute anyway!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: Glorious, luxurious, utterly essential book that will absorb and involve you and your children for hours

(Kindly sent to us for review by Big Picture Press)