So who sprayed Lynx on their armpits this morning? Or who was lucky enough to drive a Jaguar to school? And I bet after a long day you no doubt read yet another picture book about a leapin’ loungin’ no good limelight hoggin’ lion. Well, guess what? Martin Brown’s had enough.
Martin Brown, the illustrator of the mega-selling ‘Horrible Histories’ books, is back with Lesser Spotted Animals 2 – a big shout out to the animal species that never get a look-in. Not the A list ones that get their own brands and are plastered all over the telly; Martin’s fed up with those show-ponies. Instead, he wants to tell you all about the B-listers, animals like the dingiso (tree kangaroo) and the maned wolf. Yep, this motley crew are sick of standing in the shadows, so Martin’s giving them (all 26 or so) their moment in the spotlight!
Obviously, the illustrations are awesome – full of sass and humour, while still beautifully clear, as you need in animal non-fiction. There are also mini maps, speech bubbles and cartoon vignettes pitching this perfectly at a younger reader. We loved the way “South America’s treetop termite terminator the tamandua” is illustrated Hammer Horror style; its dripping tongue ominously extending toward two hapless ants. Eek!
And the writing’s top-notch too. Yes, non-fiction’s factual, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Martin’s writing is super conversational and he tells you stuff in a way you’re going to remember:
“If you looked out the window at the sparrows on the bird feeder and saw a deer in the tree, you might think that your little brother had put something in your breakfast cereal. If you then saw that the deer had fangs, you’d probably stop throttling your little brother and call an ambulance. However, if that window was in a house in the forested mountains of southern China, perhaps all would be well – because you would most likely be looking at a forest musk deer.”
I bet you’ll still be thinking about that Forest Musk Deer tomorrow.
Now for goodness sake, go and read a copy so that Martin can placate the moody monkey!