Millie Marotta is the renowned illustrator behind the mindful colouring book phenomenon Animal Kingdom- A Colouring Book Adventure and other editions so you know going into this that the artwork is going to be detailed, beautiful and almost mandela-like in its intricacy.
It’s also a big book, not amongst the biggest I own but bigger than an A4 page making this an experience to read and the hardback cover is a sight to behold in a rich petrol blue and muted matte gold endangered creatures are picked out in the illustrators classic line drawing style divided by this sea of blue peppered with seedlike details.
The endpapers are in the same style but in a dusky dark blue and white.
This book is one of love for the Earth, a plea for conservation, for memory of the diversity and ingenuity of life. Marotta began with the IUCN Red List in creating this book and researched outwards to capture the magic and wonder of each critically endangered creature and organised in the book by geographical habitat such as Arctic Tundra to oceans and forests.
Each page is beautifully illustrated whether dotted about, a page of text and page to the side of illustration or a full double spread with text in a bubble of sorts and the same graphic line illustration style comes to the front except this is expertly coloured in.
It reminds me in places of The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris which set out to revitalise and conserve natural words that were being dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary due to lack of common usage- words as seemingly common as bramble and dandelion and poetry to retain and savour those words to inspire and hopefully reword and rewild future generations.
This feels like that for the preservation and conservation angle, but this doesn’t use poetry instead facts about lifespan and lifestyles are discussed and whilst yes a child may have heard of a Snowy Owl thanks to Harry Potter, there are plenty less known creatures to consider too including Blakiston’s Fish Owl which appears in Sophie Anderson’s The Girl Who Speaks Bear.
Overall, this is a gorgeous book for any age despite the wild child’s tag, I can see this gracing classrooms, libraries, personal bookshelves and coffee tables and being enjoyed by all. My girls love to look at the art and every adult who has seen it has gasped in delight. Highly recommended.
A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals by Millie Marotta is published by Particular Books