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Animalia (Viking Kestrel picture books)
by Graeme Base
ISBN 0670815365 / 9780670815364 / 0-670-81536-5
Publisher Penguin Books Australia
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What's this elaborate illustration? "Horrible Hairy Hogs Hurrying Homewards on Heavily Harnessed Horses," of course. Graeme Base's astonishingly creative oeuvre begins with Animalia, the 1993 alphabet book that challenges the standard idea of how long reading a book for small kids ought to take. Animalia, like many of Base's books, is a vast puzzle, built with entrancing pictures that unfold into layers and layers of objects--all matched to each page's corresponding letter. Base leaves us stunned and amazed, painting reflections into the oddest surfaces and driving the urge to page-turn. This wonderful picture book works for 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds, and adults alike--something few other alphabet books can manage. --Andrew Bartlett [via]