We’ve been reading the Knowledge Encyclopedia Animal! in preparation for National Non Fiction November.
Knowledge Encyclopedia Animal! is a large sturdy hardback with fantastic computer-generated illustrations. The front cover shows a variety of animals, some more familiar than others, and has shiny embossed text. It’s a cover that invites you to open the book!
A clear and colourful contents page introduces you to the different sections of the book. First the general question ‘What is an Animal?’ is answered and Evolution, Extinction and The Animal Kingdom are explained. Then we are introduced to the six main sections. The book includes Invertebrates, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals and the first double spread of each section defines the meaning of the word and gives general facts about the particular species.
It’s unbelievable how many different animals are included in Knowledge Encyclopedia Animal! There are lots that we hadn’t even heard of! Have you ever seen a Naked Mole Rat or a Sloth Bear (‘described as more dangerous than a tiger’)? There are also more familiar animals, penguins, giraffes and a whole variety of frogs including our favourite, the Tomato Frog. We like the fact that a thumbnail picture of each animal is shown next to an adult man, a hand or half a thumb, this gives us a clear idea of how big or small each animal actually is. We’ve learnt some amazing facts: Did you know that a male seahorse gives birth? Or that an adult lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles (8km) away? Or that Long-Horned Grasshoppers have their ears on their knees?! We’ve also been introduced to lots of new vocabulary and a glossary at the back of the book explains general terms including a wide range of animal related nouns and concepts, for example plankton, fertilization and nectar.
The illustrations are absolutely amazing and many take up a whole double spread with a large picture of a particular animal. I find the picture of the Sea Lamprey with its horny teeth fascinating and I love the Red-Eyed Tree Frog. My daughter spends ages studying the close up of the tarantula with its eight eyes (I’m not so keen on that one!). Her favourite section is the reptiles, as a huge snake lover she was fascinated by all the different snakes and particularly the pictures of the Emerald Tree Boa, we were both amazed by how it changes colour. Many pages also show several different varieties of an animal from a particular family, e.g. different types of owls or rabbits. You can see examples of the illustrations on the Dorling Kindersley website.
This would be a brilliant present for a young animal lover but we have also sat down several times as a family to enjoy this book. We’ve all learnt some amazing (and sometimes quite gruesome!) new animal facts.
Age Range: 9 +
Author: John Woodward
Thank you to Dorling Kindersley for sending us Knowledge Encyclopedia Animal! This would make a great addition to a school library and is an invaluable resource for browsing at home.