A few weeks ago, I was reading the list of books that had been ordered by customers (as part of my job is dealing with special orders from customers). The World’s Most (Marvelous) Ridiculous Animals was on the list. I looked it up, it sounded and looked interesting and when the book arrived, I did a quick peek (yes, sometimes I look at your special ordered books. I have found some fun things that way). I liked what I saw and ordered my own copy. And what came from the reading of Philip Bunting’s oversize picture book? A book that I most highly recommend.
This book is amazing. It includes information about the fascinating adaptations of the animals presented. Some are funny, some are spooky, and some stinky. And while I am glad the real images are not included (looking at you, Mexican mole lizard!) sometimes the drawings do not show all I wanted. The jokes, puns and facts were a treat. Sometimes the crossing out of a word (as the word Marvelous in the title, why I put in parentheses), got a little old (and I never saw who did that, or why, as it happens on every page) and a few puns/jokes were pushing the not-so-funny line, but overall, I was enjoying myself (and yes, you probably do need to be a “chameleon years old” to get the chameleon/Boy George joke).
I learned about animals I had never heard of before, animals I knew a little about and animals that were familiar. We see peacocks, bee hummingbirds, sea angels, flamingos, dancing spiders, lyrebirds, and so much more. Now I have three wombat facts (cubed poop, can kill/injure with their butts, and my new one, they have a backward pouch so dirt does not affect the young), and know that something cute and cuddly (sheep slug) is not so cuddly. I laughed so hard that I (seriously) almost fell out of my chair a few times. I found out that opossums are cooler than I thought (not only do they eat ticks, they are stinky when playing possum, and really cannot control when it happens) and so much more.
As I mentioned, the art was not completely 100% to my liking, but I did like it (probably a 90-95% like). They are colorful, but not overpowering. There is not a lot of details, but you get the point. I think that having the cartoon-like drawings cuts down on some “eeww factors” (I’m sorry that Mexican mole lizard is just (shivers!!!!!!) oogy! Though the Brazilian treehopper has its moments, too, but I did find that helicopter club on the head somewhat endearing) and allows you to see the animal whereas photographs would not. And the not “realistic” imagery allows for the tone to be amusing and not “just the facts.”
While aimed at the older reader (at least five and up), the oversized picture book format could turn some readers off. This fun book is also for an adult who likes art, animals, and facts.