Platypus, by Sue Whiting, illustrated by Mark Jackson; Candlewick Press, 32 pages, $16.99, ages 6-9.

Have you ever taken a good look at a platypus? Outfitted with a duck’s bill and webbed feet, this mammal has a flat tail like a beaver, but lays eggs and provides milk to its young. Australian picture-book author Sue Whiting examines the peculiarities of this marvelously puzzling creature by weaving lyric prose with scientific text. Expertly matched by fellow Aussie Mark Jackson’s mixed-media illustrations, Platypus unravels the mysteries of one of natures most secretive and peculiar creatures for early readers.