Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals by Hélène Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt

This book divides the world into the Americas, Eurasia, Africa and Oceania and discusses animals that have gone extinct in each locale. Some such as the Woolly Mammoth and the Irish Elk became extinct due to climate change and others such as the Dodo Bird and the Passenger Pigeon were hunted to extinction by humans. 

Each animal gets a comic strip that shares either a myth about them or something concerning their territory or the people that have studied/found them. Then an illustration in the style of the old fashioned images that naturalists made a hundred years ago with a couple of interesting facts. Many of the animals selected are very strange by today's standards and there are also many animals that are larger cousins of animals that are still somewhat common. There is also a small illustration in the upper right hand corner with a human next to it to illustrate the scale of the animal which I found very helpful. At the end there is frieze with a time line of the vanishing animals and a glossary.

I found this book really interesting and I thought that the comic strips were a great way to present all different kinds of information. I also found this book a little sad. More than half of the animals were made extinct due to human involvement. That being said I didn't feel like the authors were trying to beat you over the head with a point. This book is really about the animals which I found refreshing.

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