Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Gallery

Candlewick Studio. May 2020. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536212358.
PreS-Gr 2–Wildsmith’s richly informative book showcases single and double-page illustrations of various animals. A version of Wildsmith’s book was published by Oxford University Press in 2008, with artwork from the author’s 1967 and 1968 editions. The text of this U.S. edition was amended to correct collective nouns and add minor adjustments to increase the book’s overall accuracy and reduce repetition. These animals reside on land, in water, and in the sky, and come from hot and cold climates. The brief text on each page lists the group name of the pictured animals, including a gaze of raccoons, a colony of penguins, a sloth of bears, a game of swans, and a tower of giraffes. Some animals and environments will generate more interest than others. Notably, the seahorses swimming in deep seawater; a swan hiding in tall, green grass; a fox with a tail of soft, honey-colored fur; and a hippo’s hairy, giant upper lip make this book come alive. Colored pencil and chalk mixed with watercolor and gouache are used to depict the softness of monkey hair and the folds in the elephant’s trunk. Heavily chalked green leaves add density to a forest where leopards roam, and colorful flowers to an otter family’s pond-side retreat.
VERDICT A lovely, artistic introduction to animal habits and habitats that young children will enjoy.

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