The World’s Most Ridiculous Animals
This is another of Philip Bunting’s playful, punning but highly informative books about animals, some of which, with their unique adaptations, you may never have come across before. Those adaptations, in case you’ve not guessed, are what make them ridiculous.
That Wattle-cup caterpillar (courtesy of the author aka Oucheus ouches) almost leapt off the page at me. It’s fortunate that it didn’t however for it has eight branches covered in pin-sharp spikes and that’s an awful lot of potential ouches. The moth stage (we’re shown all four stages) is by comparison a pretty dull specimen.
Also new to this reviewer is the Zombie snail (Zombie discofaecum). Now any child bonkers enough to contemplate tasting a morsel of bird poop will dismiss the notion instantly having read the concise paragraph giving graphic details of this snail’s life-cycle. On the other hand some youngsters like to set up snail races and this species would make a good participant in such an event as, so we learn, zombie snails tend to crawl a little faster than healthy ones. The very notion of having those eyestalks invaded by Leucochloridium, (a parasitic flatworm) and then being mind-controlled is enough to turn anyone’s stomach.
Turning to a sea dweller, well maybe I wouldn’t relish turning to this one were I swimming in the shallows around Northern Australia, but anyhow this shaggy shark (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon, or Beardus weirdus if you prefer), has facial fronds that are thought to assist in camouflaging the creature and also sense its surroundings as the woebegone waits for its next meal.
No matter your preference among the world’s fauna – fish, insects, mammals, birds. molluscs or whatever, you’ll likely discover something new in this highly humorous book that makes learning terrific fun as well as an educational activity. With its funny but anatomically accurate illustrations, eyes notwithstanding, this is a book that will appeal to a wide age range and is definitely one to add to home and school collections.