Review Blog

Oct 03 2019

Animology: The big book of letter art alphabeasts by Maree Coote

cover image

Melbournestyle Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780992491796. 72pp., hbk.
Animology: The big book of letter art alphabeasts by Maree Coote Every part of me's a letter!
Does that help you find me better?
Look very closely - can you see
The hidden letters that find me?
Sometimes letters may repeat
To make more eyes or fur or feet
Look back-to-front,
Look upside down,
Every letter can be found!

This is one of the most unusual books I've reviewed for a long time and one of the most fascinating. Paired with an informative verse about its subject, each illustration is created by using the letters of the creature's name and the reader is challenged to find each one. From the vibrant mandrill on the front cover, the challenge is set to take a journey through the natural world discovering everything from swans to budgerigars, all cleverly constructed from their letters.
Readers have to examine the details in each illustrations, honing their visual acuity skills amongst others, as Coote has had fun with fonts, their shapes and sizes to tease even the most discerning eye. One for those boys who like to gather round the same book and test themselves. And having got the concept by looking, students can then be challenged to try for themselves, remembering that they not only have to spell the name correctly and use all the letters, but make the finished design resemble the creature!! Something very different for an art/biology lesson that could be a shared activity as the artists draw and the wordsmiths research to create the verse!
A significant step up from the usual look-and-find books for younger readers.
Barbara Braxton

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