As a child I remember so many wonderful wildlife books around our house by authors such as Éamon de Buitléar and Geritt van Gelderen. When I saw the cover of this compelling compendium I was reminded of them all and I knew that Little P would love it. She is fascinated by the animals, birds and sea creatures she sees daily and is full of questions about them. This book provided plenty of answers and was an education for both of us.
Every double page spread is full of information laid out in a most accessible fashion with a large detailed illustration. The full name, Irish name and class of each creature is included along with a descriptive paragraph written in witty conversational style by Rob Maguire. There is a list of essential facts such as size, diet, home and expected lifespan. Each page also contains text boxes with interesting points about where in Ireland the creatures can be found or what their name actually means. There are also smaller illustrations of baby animals, details of paw prints or depicting the actual size of the tiny creatures like the pygmy shrew.
The sheer size of Aga Grandowicz’s illustrations mean that every anatomical structure stands out. The robin’s feathers, the stickleback’s fins and the dragonfly wings are all expertly drawn in fine detail. It’s the next best thing to having the actual creature sitting on your kitchen table!
Not surprisingly Little P gets loads of fun out of this book. She really enjoys spotting the creatures that she is familiar with like the hermit crab, the fox, the hare and the seagull and we are already making plans to seek out the ones we haven’t seen yet. First on the list is the natterjack toad! This scores a solid nine out of ten on the P-OMETER.
This is a fun and accessible reference guide to the wild creatures that every Irish child is likely to see in their environment. Whether in the countryside, city or suburbs seagulls and squirrels, badgers and butterflies can be easily spotted. A book that is worth having in every house to foster the innate curiosity and fascination that all children display for the natural world.
Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals created by Aga Grandowicz and Rob Maguire is published by Little Island Books. ISBN: 978-1-910411-94-0