“ Author: Josie Ripley / Format: Hardback / Date of publication: 05 September 2012 / Genre: Lifestyle / Subcategory: Country Life & Pets / Category: Domestic Animals & Pets / Category: Domestic Animals & Pets General / Publisher: Summersdale Publishers / Title: World's Cutest Animals / ISBN 13: 9781849533041 / ISBN 10: 1849533041 „
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After buying the first two books in this series, World's Weirdest and World's Deadliest Animals, and specifically stating in my review that my sons weren't interested in the cute and cuddly - my youngest made a liar of me by requesting just that : World's Cutest Animals. Of course we all have different definitions of cute. I thought the pika looked far too much like a rat, and the marten is beautiful in it's own way - but I wouldn't think of it as cute and cuddly. My sons found the poor dugong or sea cow rather homely but then you mightn't find the puffer fish or gecko nearly as adorable as we do. The cover animal is a sure winner though, I can't imagine anyone finding the little red panda anything but cute - at least as long as you are not stupid enough to annoy it.
Whatever your tastes, there are sure to be some animals in this book you find lovely. there is a wide selection including mammals, reptiles, birds and fish. There is even a ladybird beetle to represent the insects, and an adorable little frog for the amphibians. Some of our favourites were : the tamandua, a big ant eater type animal asleep in a tree with his huge claws wrapped around his muzzle, the seahorse, the puffer fish, the penguin and finally the little red panda shown above.
All of the photographs in this book are very clear and sharp, and most of the shots are very good. The only one I would complain about is the angora rabbit which might look better if the camera was not zoomed in quite so closely - or just kept going for a better shot. But most of the photos are outstanding, and my children rally enjoy looking through this book.
There are a few very short paragraphs about each animal, it's scientific name, habitat and diet along with a cutest feature and "snuggle rating". I thought the snuggle rating was a bit silly, as did my sons, and I'm not altogether sure it is a good idea, but my own children are wise enough to not touch or hug a wild animal. an evil part of me keeps thinking to the author - "You think the Pine Marten is snuggly - go on give it a try!" The general information however is well written and informative. It isn't very detailed, but I wouldn't expect that in this type of book. This is more of an introduction to each animal and if a child wants they can find out more on their own. For most of the animals , the information provided is more than adequate. Too much text could put off very young readers who are often as interested in the photos as the details.
My biggest complaint is the fact that the text is quite small and printed over another printed background. this does get a bit distracting and could make reading more challenging to a struggling reader. In particular, text over a printed background is not recommend for children with dyslexia, but I would not recommend it to any struggling reader. I would also note that the book itself is quite small at only 6" by 6". I do think this would have been a better book had it been made a bit larger, allowing for larger print and of course larger pictures, but if the child is a confident reader, or a parent will be reading aloud I don't see this as a major issue. I would note that the vocabulary in this book is advanced with words like "voracious", "altercations" and "charismatic". The author also refers to Aristotle and Pliny the Elder as if everyone will have herd of them. If this was bought for an adult I could understand that but most very young children will be unfamiliar with Greek philosophy, and cute as this book is for children, I can not imagine buying it for an adult.
Overall I would recommend this book. The pictures are great fun, and this a book my youngest will choose to explore on his own, a necessary step to emergent literacy just for the pictures. It is educational and you can make it more educational by reading with a globe and finding the areas where each animal lives. Unlike the other books in this series, I found nothing of questionable suitability for children. Still the print seems to have annoyed me more this time, perhaps it was the lighting as the glossy pages are quite reflective as well. Had the text been on a solid background, I would have given this 5 stars, as it is, I can't go over 4.