Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders

The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders

Joe Fullman
Illustrator:  A cast of wonderful illustrators 
Novelty Book
For ages 8 to 10
Lonely Planet Kids, 2017   ISBN: 978-1787011045

We have invited some “super-collectors” to create twelve collections of some of “the weirdest, strangest, and most incredible objects on Earth.” Each collector has gathered objects that suit their particular specialty, objects that they feel would interest us the most; and they have placed their finds in a cabinet for our perusal. There is an archeologist’s cabinet, a doctor’s cabinet, a monster hunter’s cabinet, a tailor’s cabinet, a naturalist’s cabinet, a treasure hunter’s cabinet, a musician’s cabinet, a sailor’s cabinet, a scientist’s cabinet, a toy maker’s cabinet, a miniaturist’s cabinet, and a make-believer’s cabinet. What will these cabinets contain?

The collector who has compiled the tailor’s cabinet has “a passion for curious clothes,” and he or she has brought together a remarkable collection of clothes and accessories that are truly bizarre. Open the drawers in a bureau and you will find Egyptian toe covers that are made of gold, platform shoes that were made in Italy in the 1600’s , clogs with spikes that were used to crush chestnuts, and a pair of moon boots that were worn by an astronaut in 1972.  In an elegant looking armoire we also find, among other things, a helmet made out of a porcupine fish, a horned helmet that was given to Henry VIII of England, and a mantua dress that is six and a half feet wide.

The toy maker’s cabinet is a full of all kinds of marvels that will delight people of all ages. There is a mechanical toy that shows a tiger eating a soldier. Inside the toy there is a small organ that makes a moaning sound. There is also a puppet with three heads, the original stuffed Pooh, Piglet, Kanga, Eeyore, and Tigger toys, and lots of other curiosities, some of which are downright creepy.

It must be said that the miniaturist’s cabinet is particularly interesting. If you have ever wanted to see a droplet of water, a flea, or the wing of a butterfly up close, then this is the place for you.

With lots of flaps to lift on every page, and wonderful spreads that make us feel as if we are indeed looking at cabinets full of wonders, this book truly does give readers a singular book experience.

At the back of the book readers will find a list of museums where they can see more objects that will delight the eye and excite their curiosity.