Review: The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide… by Marc Martin

Illustrated Guide It’s rare to come across a child who isn’t fascinated by animals.  Some fear them, some adore them, but all seem keen to learn more about them.  My husband and I often debate the merits of letting our young kids watch nature documentaries:  he thinks the food chain is a vital life lesson, whereas I think watching a lion rip the head off a gazelle is inappropriate bedtime viewing. Nonetheless, I understand his point that to explore the animal kingdom is to take a walk through the sheer wonder of life on our planet – and the more exotically weird and wonderful the animal, the better!  And so to this book, Marc Martin’s The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals, A to Z, an educational visual feast providing many opportunities to examine the natural world.

The cover design offers a nod to the sets of illustrated encyclopaedias I used to have as a kid. The sort many people had as kids, I guess, before Google became our go-to information source.  This old fashioned cover – glossy on its hard back – celebrates scientific classification and recording of the animal world, giving just a hint of the magnificent illustrations yet to come.

Open the book and we begin our travels with a world map to point out each creature’s place of origin.  P is for Panda. Can you find a panda on the map? It lives in China – but that’s an easy one. What about an ibex? Or a narwhal? Or a quetzal?  Each letter of the alphabet comes with a chance to admire an explosion of colour and design, identify the animal (or bird, or fish) and have a crack at pronouncing its scientific name.  Once you’ve reached the zebra, you’re rewarded with a page of additional facts about habitats and curiosities.

Part picture book, part field guide, this title could be fun for a wide range of ages – from bubs ready to look at shapes and colours, through to preschoolers working on their letters and sounds.  Even early readers keen for a bit of Zoology 101 will find the Illustrated Guide entertaining.  In fact, those three stages pretty much match up with the ages of my own children and they all absolutely loved this book!

The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals, A to Z by Marc Martin will be released on 27th February 2013 and is published by Penguin. I thank them kindly for my copy.

11 comments for “Review: The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide… by Marc Martin

  1. February 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Gorgeous book. My older boys 10, 11 and 12 started watching documentaries on sharks and snakes and love them. I was concerned about all the shark attack watching though as we spent a month at the beach! It didnt seem to faze them however!

  2. February 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    My kids love animals, but like you, I’m always trying to find the balance between letting them appreciate the wildness, and also protecting their little minds.

  3. February 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Looks fabulous! I know Mia would love that, also a certain Daddy would like it too! They would have the best time reading this together!

    #teamIBOT was here!

  4. February 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    That book looks gorgeous – great that it can cover a range of ages. Might put it on the birthday wish list 🙂

  5. February 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Weirdly enough my ‘scared in Disney movies’ little one doesn’t flinch when a penguin is eaten by a seal. It must be David Attenborough’s soothing lilt that makes it ok. I’ll have to check out that book – perfect for a budding entomologist (as Little L has informed me is on her career agenda). I assume they cover a few bugs. 😉 Hope school is treating you well so far x

  6. February 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    My son is mad about animals but also sensitive as like you say might just cringe as his beloved tiger mauls a antelope! Must try track this book down though.

  7. February 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    This book looks lovely. Its exactly the sort of thing my new big school girl adores.

    • This Charming Mum
      February 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Yes, my biggest school girl wants to be a vet and gets a kick out of playing with language, so the combination of animals and funny names really worked for her! The littler ones were all about the colours though. I really can’t get enough of beautiful kids’s books 🙂 Hope your school girls is settling in well x

  8. Kasper Beaumont
    February 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Looks like a great book. Ebooks will never replace children’s picture books, in my book. We love the science experiment books at our house, although we usually end up wih bicarb soda on the ceiling or green goo everywhere. Lots of fun. 🙂

  9. February 5, 2013 at 9:52 am

    That book sounds great! It is always good to have all ages books!

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