- Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of by Martin Brown
ISBN 978-1-338-08934-9 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-5
No, this is not about diminutive species of animals with distinctive markings. This is about animals seldom observed in the wild, much less in zoos or on TV nature shows. They’re the animals you want to name drop—to score points for knowing. The Cuban solenodon, once thought extinct, showed up again in the late twentieth century, boasting a ball-and-socket nose joint and a toxic lower front tooth. The desert sand cat is so good at blending into its environment that we don’t know much about it at all: “If ever there was a creature that didn’t want to be studied, this is it.” Speke’s pectinator, a hamster-like little furball from Somalia, doesn’t have much going for it to put a claim on fame but earns a shout-out anyway for having “one of the coolest names in the whole animal kingdom.” Each featured creature gets a double-page spread with a few paragraphs of descriptive text, an insert with data about size, diet, habitat, population status, a map, and a tidbit of trivia. An added bonus is the accompanying tongue in cheek artwork, in which the animal’s expressive eyes humorously exude attitude about how they feel about this sudden burst of attention. The perfect browser’s book, this title wraps up with a glossary and notes about endangered status categories—and a parting shot from a sand cat, thankfully not rendered in scratch-’n’-sniff.