Review Blog

Nov 20 2019

Fauna : Australia's most curious creatures by Tania McCartney

cover image

NLA Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279545.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. This book is a gem for any school library or classroom. The content will interest and engage most primary and secondary students because the information is often humorous, new, startling and offered in such a creative and accessible way.
An emphasis in Fauna is the unique and curious animals of Australia's land, rivers, lakes and oceans. The animals are not presented in any particular order, although there are two indexes; animal grouping and alphabetical. A glossary of useful terms is also provided at the end of the book.
The information about each species, including rare animals that this reviewer was unaware of, is in small sections to enable understanding. However, the content as a whole provides a good overall picture of Australia's fauna. Descriptions include Australian locations, physical features, breeding habits, feeding and habitat.
Attention is constantly drawn to the conservation of animals through a rating for vulnerability of endangered species.
The use and placement of colourful and unusual diagrams and illustrations really support the text to bring each species alive to the reader. eg. actual (8cm) size of a crocodile egg, the platypus as a fake (duck, otter, beaver), the heads of the four main species of flying fox and the colours of the thorny devil. The title cover gives a good example of the artistic quality of the book. The last section of Fauna is devoted to animals seen as curiosities to the first Europeans but common to indigenous Australians who gave them their own names.
Fauna has much wonderful information to amaze and engage the young (and old) reader.
Paul Pledger

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