Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mixed Beasts, Or a Miscellany of Rare and Fantastic Creatures

Mixed Beasts, Or a Miscellany of Rare and Fantastic Creatures

Kenyon Cox
Illustrator:  Wallace Edwards 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Kids Can Press, 2005   ISBN: 978-1553377962

Professor Julius Duckworth O'Hare (Esquire) is a zoologist who likes to travel around the world to study rare and peculiar creatures the like of which most of us have never heard of. We are very lucky because Kenyon Cox and Wallace Edwards have combined their considerable talents to introduce us just some of the bizarre animals that the Professor saw on his travels. Be advised that some of these creatures are rather startling to look at, but I am sure that you will be intrigued by them.

Perhaps the most interesting of the animals in this book is the octopussycat. Though it is not cuddly, it is certainly fascinating because each its eight arms can work independently. The Bumblebeaver is another curious creature. It is able to make "mud-houses with his tail / Or gather honey with his nose." If you think that that is peculiar, then you should see a Creampuffin. This animal is half bird, and half dessert, and can in fact can be eaten in its 'raw' form.

This picture book of delightfully ridiculous verse introduces readers to thirteen highly unlikely looking animals, each one of which is shown in a very unusual setting. The verse is lively and rhyming, reminiscent of some of the verse found in the Alice in Wonderland books. When readers investigate the illustrations closely they will find that other peculiar creatures inhabit the artwork. These animals are shown in an illustrated listing in the back of the book. Readers will also discover one last surprise on the very last page of the book, one which will go a long way to explain who (and what) Professor Julius Duckworth O'Hare is.

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