Animalium (Welcome to the Museum), written by Katie Scott, illustrated by Jenny Broom; Big Picture Press, $35.00, 112 pages, ages 6-12.

This stunning oversize volume bills itself as an all-hours natural history museum that houses creatures alive and extinct. Following an informative preface by Dr. Knapp from the Natural History Museum of London, author Katie Scott explains the book’s layout – here, the six chapters are actually separate galleries classified by animal and each one moves up the evolutionary ladder from invertebrates to mammals. Chapters also include animal habitats ecosystems, and even a few dissections illustrating animal’s interior circuitry. The show-stopping pen and ink plates by Jenny Broom recall nineteenth century wildlife lithographs and engravings.  160 animals are identified by numbers corresponding to an accompanying key with the critter’s common and Latin name, plus identifiable characteristics. The folio sized pages allow readers to examine in great detail the various bits and parts that make all of Earth’s creatures perfectly suited to their habitats.  There’s no bibliography, but the appendix includes five fabulous websites, such as those run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic which offer opportunities for readers to continue their explorations within the animal kingdom. Budding naturalists of all ages will find themselves getting quite enjoyably lost in the vast pages of this unique museum.  

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