Notable Non-Fiction & Guest Post: Amazing Animals by Sabrina Weiss, illustrated by Paul Daviz

Amazing Animals by Sabrina Weiss

When a book arrives that elicits oohs and aaaahs from adults like my Grandmother who isn’t usually interested in non-fiction you know this is something truly special. Not simply visually stunning, this book has the added value of being packed with facts that do actually stand up to the tagline of 100+ Creatures That Will Boggle Your Mind.

Amazing Animals Sabrina Weiss

Amazing Animals is the kind of book that could sit happily on a coffee table with ‘grown up’ selections and be enjoyed by any age that picks it up, from the sumptuous illustrations  throughout by Paul Daviz to the fascinating collections of thematic facts about species, habitats, evolution and adaptation, environmentalism and so much more. 

Each double spread is carefully themed progressing with scientific detail such as the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates moving onto dedicated exploration of habitats and their animals, migration and more but the intense information is made accessible through being broken up into bite size paragraphs about different animals or factors about that habitat.

I like this book, its fun because it has so many animals in it! The bat {illustration} was so real it was a bit scary!!

Tinyfae

Furthermore, the education by stealth is promoted by what may appear as ‘novelty’ pages such as Super Mums and Dads, or Record Breaking animals but actually promote the concepts of comparison and contrast to younger audiences which are definitely useful for future life but especially when it comes to essay skills.

In our house it has multiple uses from feeding Littlefae’s appetite for knowledge and minutiae here about biology and animal sciences and Tinyfae’s exploration of habitats and differences between their creatures so it has value and worth from KS1 all the way into KS3 cross-curricular making it an essential for any shelf at home or educational setting. 

Now I’m delighted to hand over to Sabrina to tell us all about Amazing Animals and Camouflage

After staring at a bush for what felt like an hour, looking for signs of a leopard, I was getting impatient. My partner and I observed a resting leopard on safari in a national park in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago, until it suddenly stood up and disappeared into the green foliage. Our guide was sure he was still there. We were instructed to watch for any movement or spotting pattern that might emerge among the bushes and shrubs.

The leopards are the main attraction in this national park. Thousands of tourists come every year hoping to see the animals hunting deer and wild boar or sleeping in a tree.

The spotted pattern on their tawny coat is really striking. The dark, irregular spots somewhat resemble roses, that’s why they are called rosettes. And even more fascinating is that the spot patterns are unique to each leopard, much like a human fingerprint. Imagine the joy of recognising a pattern and thus a leopard that you have seen before.

But it is precisely this pattern that makes them so difficult to recognise. Leopards have spots so they can camouflage themselves in their environment to survive and move stealthily to catch their prey. The spots allow them to disappear into the shadows of the greenery in their grasslands and scrub jungle habitat. For us it meant that we would not get to see that leopard again.

Every time I observe animals in the wild, I am amazed at such distinctive features. Of course, these spot patterns look beautiful in the moment and also later on in photos, but it is remarkable what functions such patterns and other morphological traits can have. This is something I wanted to capture in my new book Amazing Animals. Scientists have been studying why animals look the way they do for a long time, and yet they are surprised anew.

Camouflage fascinates me in particular. That’s why, in addition to leopards, I’ve also written about octopuses and fish that hide in the reef, among other animals. But there are many more shapes, colours and patterns to explore. Many animal species change their appearance in the course of their lives. Amphibians, invertebrates, fish, mammals, they all do it. I hope that the book will encourage readers to pause for a moment in nature and look a little closer.

This is undoubtably one of our favourite spreads in the book.

Thank you so much Sabrina, camouflage is such a fascinating topic and its wonderful to hear of your adventures observing animals in their habitats!

Overall this is such a wonderful and engaging book that you will find something new every time you pick it up and dip in, whether a new fact or a new detail in one of the illustrations!

Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour!

Amazing Animals by Sabrina Weiss

AMAZING ANIMALS is written by Sabrina Weiss (@sabrinamweiss) and illustrated by Paul Daviz (@daviz_industries) out now in hardback (£14.99, What on Earth Books)

thank you so much for our copy 💜

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