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Animalia Hardcover – September 20, 1993
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What's this elaborate illustration? "Horrible Hairy Hogs Hurrying Homewards on Heavily Harnessed Horses," of course. Graeme Base's astonishingly creative oeuvre begins with Animalia, the 1993 alphabet book that challenges the standard idea of how long reading a book for small kids ought to take. Animalia, like many of Base's books, is a vast puzzle, built with entrancing pictures that unfold into layers and layers of objects--all matched to each page's corresponding letter. Base leaves us stunned and amazed, painting reflections into the oddest surfaces and driving the urge to page-turn. This wonderful picture book works for 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds, and adults alike--something few other alphabet books can manage. --Andrew Bartlett
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My son got married a year ago last summer and his wife is going to be an elementary, early childhood teacher. I drew her name for Christmas, and heard that she really wanted some children's books to start her personal and classroom library. Animalia was a natural addition to that list!
Animalia is an ABC book, but with a twist. Graeme Base is an exceptional artist. It took him years to complete the artwork for this book. Each page and sometimes both pages are devoted to a single letter. Each page has a major image and many, many smaller ones...all linked to the letter of the page. I find that I'm still identifying things linked to the letters as I flip through this book.
The pictures are large and bright. The combination of images on each page is fun and inventive.
I frankly think my son was as excited to see this book appear as his wife was; this is one of the memorable books from his childhood.
This is a large format book, and can entertain a child for hours.
5 solid and well-deserved stars.
The pictures that are hidden will appeal to many different ages so this is really a book that is for many different ages. Some of the pictures that are hidden are easy to identify and some are much harder to identify. That is one reason I believe this will appeal to a wide age group.
Author/illustrator Graeme Base is phenomenal. The illustrations are detailed, colorful and mesmerizing to look at.
I think my son and daughter-in-law will have as much fun looking at this book with their children as I did paging through it.
Some of the reviewers mentioned violence in the book. I really didn't notice the illustrations they mentioned until they were pointed out to me. The book is light and colorful and delightful to look at.
Second, I was looking for the 25th anniversary edition online and somehow happened upon this listing (I didn't find it through Amazon search engine). The listing didn't mention the book being 25th Anniversary Edition, but I bought it (for much cheaper than anywhere else online) because the picture showed the 25th Anniversary Edition. It arrived today and I was thrilled that it was indeed the anniversary edition. This particular edition comes with a poster on the inside of the jacket "that holds a riddle to be solved."
As a side note, I saw this book at a local big box book store and was very disappointed in cover of the paperback. It looked like a poor photocopy. So, if you're trying to decide between paperback and hardcover, I would recommend hardcover... and buy it now while the 25th Edition is still being sold (look at the picture, you'll see "25th Anniversary Edition" at the top of the cover if it is).
Also, in regards to the negative reviews.... I use anything that shocks me as a teachable moment with my child. How can I teach them to deal with the emotions associated with being exposed to something unusual? There is no doubt in my mind that my children are exposed to so many things that I would prefer them not to be exposed to on a daily basis. I don't set out to shelter them from these things, but offer advice and talk about the 'weird' things we see and that happen to us on a daily basis. It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for the Big World out there. Trust me, this book will not harm your child... get it.