Creature Features

Authored by Natasha Durley
Illustrated by Natasha Durley
Published by Big Picture Press

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Creature Features is one of the ‘new wave’ of nonfiction books (such as A World of Birds), which demand that you stop and browse. The illustrations are bright, bold and eye-catching. They are also intriguing because the book has animals that I never even knew existed. Children will love that!

The other thing they will love is that the author and illustrator, Natasha Durley, has written a nonfiction book that doesn’t classify animals in the usual way. Instead, we have headings such as nice noses, excellent ears, tremendous tongues and wonderful webbed feet. These alliterative titles not only grab your attention, but they also lead you into a double-page spread of the weird, the wonderful and the well known.

Her groupings have allowed her to raid the world, for the most unusual of fantastical creatures. When was the last time you read about the Onagrdori, the Nubian Ibex, the Giraffe Weevil and the Okapi? Not recently – I hear you shout!

In the well-trodden tradition of children’s nonfiction, each spread has discussion questions, which will promote lots of oracy. It also has a question, which leads the reader to the next double-page.

What children may not appreciate is that there are no additional details about any individual animals. This may either be frustrating, or it may prompt a surge of ‘Googling’ to find out more. I hope it prompts the latter…it did for me!

So, if you love nonfiction books and are a little tired of the usual mammals and reptiles books, then Creature Features may just be, as its blurb states, the ‘celebration of the animal world’, that you never knew you needed to read.