By: David FitzSimmons
Publisher: Wild Iris Publishing
Publication Date: November 2011
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 21, 2011
It took me a while to get started on this review because I simply couldn’t find the right words to describe this book. Amazing, intriguing, awesome, unique…. Hmmm…. I finally settled on a New England expression that we here in Massachusetts are quite fond of – wicked cool! Yes, Curious Critters is a wicked cool book!
Curious Critters introduces young readers to over 20 “critters,” up close and personal. From the creepy eight-eyed jumping spider, to the bizarre yet strangely beautiful Chinese praying mantis and the fuzzy and adorable red-eyed vireo (don’t know what a vireo is? I didn’t either till I read this book!), this book is full of truly interesting creatures.
The text accompanying each critter is brief, a few short paragraphs at most, and informative. The reader will learn what box turtles eat, why bullfrogs sing, and how a fox snake hunts. At the back of the book is a two-page spread with a small reprint of each critter’s photo, and an additional paragraph of information on each. There’s a second two-page spread of “Curious Critters Life-Size Silhouettes” with outlines of each critter for size comparisons. Placed among the silhouettes are several fun questions with answers on the following page, where there is also a glossary.
While there are a myriad of books for young readers on all sorts of critters, this one stands out because of the incredible photography. The lens brings each animal so close to the reader that you can easily see each feather on the blue jay, and every bump on the toad. With a stark white background for each photo, the eye is drawn to the animal, not any distracting background. Author/photographer David FitzSimmons is to be commended for his fantastic use of photography to engage youngsters.
Quill says: This book is a must-have for young, curious critter lovers. The fuzzy, adorable bird-with-a-serious attitude on the front jacket flap is my absolute favorite “Curious Critter.” Which critter will be your favorite?