I lost custody of Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals almost immediately. I opened the package it came in and my 9-year-old swooped in and said, “COOL! Can I read that, please?” That was an easy answer–I handed it over. I never dreamed I’d have to track it down in his room after lights out to get it back so I could review it. My entire family has thumbed through this book and exclaimed over some interesting fact or another. We all have our favorite facts. My personal favorite is that in 2015 a grad student in Australia discovered two new types of a Peacock spider. Though the spiders have their scientific names, their common nicknames are Skeletorus and Sparklemuffin. Yep. A spider named Sparklemuffin. That brings me joy. I finally stashed this book in my backpack and took it to a restaurant to read in peace and still ended up helping my server track it down online so she could buy it for a friend.
Aside from the personal joy every member of my family has gotten from reading the facts, the book itself is gorgeous. It is a large hardback, with full page illustrations on every page. It is as much fun to look at as it is to read. It is a sturdy book and has been hauled all over the place. My son brought it along on the ride to school with our carpool and it was the star of the show. I have found it on the floor, jammed in backpacks, wedged between two seats in my car, under a pile of other books on a desk, and hiding under my son’s pillow. It’s held up well to the shenanigans of my very active family.
As a family, we all really enjoy our nature shows and books. Our kids love to tell us about the cool animal they just learned about, but after a while there is a lot of repetition in what they see. I am happy to say this book has introduced us to quite a few types of animals that we had never heard of. Now my boys are asking me to look up information about the Rusty Tussock Moth (they think it looks like a Pokemon), Darwin’s Frog (the male SWALLOWS the tadpoles and stores them in his vocal sac, they HOP out of his MOUTH when they are froglets. WHAT?!), and the Ant Mimic Spider (a spider that mimics the look of ants to avoid predation). Those are just a few of the new animals that have peaked their interest. Even my husband has randomly tracked me down to tell me some cool thing he found out while leafing through the book.
If you are an animal enthusiast (or have one in your home) or are just looking for a beautiful and interesting coffee table book, I highly recommend this one. We have already gotten so much mileage out of it that I have plans to pick up a few copies to hand out as gifts.
Sarah is a wife, Mom, personal chef, avid reader, sometimes writer, all around smart ass, and lover of life. She maintains her sanity in the hectic life of raising two special needs kids by drinking vast amounts of coffee, small amounts of wine, laughing often, telling lots of jokes (occasionally poorly timed, often thoroughly inappropriate), and appreciating her husband because he’s a rock star Dad and partner.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Blue Slip Media. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.