Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Big Book of Animals of the World

The Big Book of Animals of the World

Ole Konnecke
Nonfiction large format board book
For ages 3 to 6
Gecko Press, 2015   ISBN: 978-1776570126

One of the many things that books give us is the ability to travel around the world without leaving our homes, or even our seats. Books therefore make it possible for us to see things and places that we might not otherwise be able to see.

The pages of this wonderful board book will take young children all over the world to see animals of all kinds. Across the bottom of every spread we see a different habitat, and in each one little animal characters are going about their business working and playing. Above the landscape are pictures of animals that live in that ecosystem. Throughout the spreads, characters, animals, and objects are labeled so that we know what they are called.

For example, the first spread shows us a scene from a place in the far north. We see a coastline where cliffs of ice hang over the ocean and where icebergs and ice floes float by. A little town sits on the shoreline. A little mouse paddles in a kayak in the ocean, and on the shore other animal characters are skiing and driving a snowmobile. Further inland the ice and snow becomes a tundra, and here a gold prospector heads to a stream to start panning for precious metals. In the sky above this scene we see a selection of animals that call this cold place home. Among others there is a polar bear, a lemming, a snowy owl, a puffin, and a blue whale.

In another scene we are taken to a place in the Pacific Ocean region. To the left we see another shoreline. Tall mountains form a backdrop for a coastal city where huge skyscrapers reach for the sky. By contrast, just down the coast, there are a pair of stilt houses that are simple and made of wood instead of steel and glass. Offshore there are a series of islands. One has an active volcano on it that is erupting.  On another very small island we see a little mouse character who appears to be stranded. Sharks fins circle the island and we wonder how the poor fellow is going to get rescued. Two more mice float across the sky above the ocean in a hot air balloon. In the space above this scene, which is so full of contradictions, there are pictures of some animals that live in this world. We see a koala, a peacock, a black leopard, an emu and more.

In all there are ten spreads to look at in this book. Young children will go deep under the ocean, to Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe. They will encounter many animals and learn some wonderful words. Some they will be familiar with like “barn,” “truck” and “fox.” Others, such as “wind turbine,” “cottage,” and “osprey” may be new to them.

Children will have a wonderful time exploring the pages of this book.