Page 45 Review by Stephen
South-bound sequel to WILD ANIMALS OF THE NORTH: you could tell that those animals were all from the North because it tended to be snowing, ice featured fairly prominently in their habitat, and several were to be found walking whippets.
Here the animals are 80% wealthier and 90% healthier, far less likely to visit the NHS Drop-in Centre, in no small part thanks to having a proper doctor's surgery in every suburb. Generally there's also a great deal more sunshine, although be warned that you can stray too far south and so finish back oop North (see Eastbourne / Antarctica).
Absolute class through and through, this deliriously seductive all-ages art book has bugger all to do with comics but I am so far past caring because beauty.
Recommended to fans of Brrémaud & Bertolucci's LOVE: TIGER and LOVE: FOX etc, the paper stock is thick and matt and the hardcover itself roams free from the fetters of any unsightly insta-rip dust jacket, thus making it ideal for school libraries.
As a kid I own that my idea of nature-book heaven would have been one illustrated by KINGDOM COME's Alex Ross, but as a big kid now this more stylised approach with elements of Jonathan Edwards lights my fire far, far more. The forms are bigger and bolder for their blocked-out beauty and I strongly suspect that any family acquiring this educational excellence will discover their young ones equipping themselves with paper, pencil and paint in no time in order to emulate its awe.
Featured creatures come with a paragraph which is far from predictable, eschewing cold stats in favour of something more akin to storytelling, bringing each animal's individuality alive. We did the snow leopard last time, so here's its warmer cousin:
"Leopards are great climbers. They withdraw with their prey - which can weigh up to twice as much as they do - high up into the trees to be safe from enemies like lions and hyenas."
I hate climbing trees - vertigo, general lack of bravery etc. - so it'd probably be safe from me too.
"This solitary creature doesn't even enjoy the company of its own kin. When it crosses paths with other leopards there is often a display of threatening behaviour that can lead to bloody fights."
Please insert your own personally biased regional smear here. Also: that was my Mr. Bob-san all over. He once successfully took on a fox which took off pretty sharpish.
My point is that there's not too much info and it's all instantly memorable even if you have the attention span of a five-year-old that's just washed down a dozen packets of Tang-Fastics with five fizzy litres of teeth-melting pop-u-like.
Did you know, for example, that hippopotamuses aren't especially good swimmers even though we see them doing that all the time with Sir David Attenborough, whereas the African Elephant is a very strong swimmer? I've only ever seen them wading. Perhaps the canal at the bottom of my garden's not deep enough.
The scientific name for a giraffe is giraffa camelopardalis and must always be typed in italic (I don't know why). The second half "comes from the Greek words for 'camel' and 'leopard' because it looks like a mix between the two!" And it does a bit!
If you ignore the giraffe's most significant feature.
Its neck only has seven vertebrae, by the way, just like ours. That doesn't seem right, does it?
Anyway, this is all so ridiculously exotic and lush (and positively dazzling / electrified in the case of the Indian peafowl) with the emphasis on shape, although I could not imagine anything fluffier than the beard of the blue wildebeest here, and as to the intense-eyed, nocturnal jaguar I cannot imagine an animal tasting more like blackcurrant Spangles.
Perhaps I'll take a photograph of that page for when I tweet this. I'm afraid I can't find that image online.