Discover the delights of nature with zoologist, poet and top children’s book author, Nicola Davies.
Follow her young adventurer as she treks through the jungle, dives deep down into the sea and climbs high up into the trees. Animal Surprises features animals big, small, wide and tall. Fully illustrated in colour by exciting new illustrator Abbie Cameron.
Nicola Davies is an award-winning author whose many books for children include A First Book of Nature, Ice Bear, Big Blue Whale and the Silver Street Farm series. She graduated in zoology, studied whales and bats then worked in the BBC Nature History Unit. Underlying all Nicola’s writing is the belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship.
Abbie Cameron was raised on the farmlands of the West Country. Surrounded by nature, she developed a love and appreciation for all creatures great and small. Abbie studied Illustration at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, where she first met Nicola Davies. Her style is playful and inventive, sharing some of the tongue-in-cheek attitude and doodle-like style of other contemporary British illustrators. She employs the use of bright colours and texture, whilst playing with scale, composition and open space. The Word Bird, Animal Surprises and Into the Blue are Abbie’s first published books but she hopes to continue a career in picture book illustration. Other notable achievements include being Highly Commended in the Penguin Random House Design Awards 2014.
REVIEW: “We absolutely loved this book. I read it with my son and he thought it was amazing. He loves finding out about different animals and this book was perfect for him. The illustrations are amazing. So vivid! The rhyming text made the book easy to read and the continuing ‘Surprises’ were great fun. There are fun things to discuss and do with your child including details to help find minibeasts and a maze to follow at the end of the book. This book is a great conversation starter about animals of all shapes and sizes. A fantastic book with a few words, fantastic illustrations and a lot to spark imaginations.” via Toppsta
REVIEW: “We really enjoyed this book it’s made up of rhyming words to describe animals such as small and tall and is a really good length without becoming too much for little ones as it’s not really a story type book but a short rhyme spread over numerous pages.
Each page is littered with animals – with everything from lions to worms. Although the pictures aren’t very bright with slightly more muted tones used they are quite realistic and very recognisable even to the smallest of children.
We had great fun looking at the book and once we had read it we went back through looking at all the animals and discussing them from what noise they made to where they live so I think this book is fantastic because although it’s not intended as an educational book it has the promise to be one and my son has sat and looked at it many times alone just to see all the animals.” via Toppsta
REVIEW: “Animal Surprises is a stunning addition to children’s non-fiction books. It is richly illustrated by Abbie Cameron whose use of colour and texture really helps to bring the animals alive on the page. The aim of Animal Surprises is to showcase the unusual and the unfamiliar as well as more well-known animals and this is summed up by the book’s refrain, “Creatures of all shapes and sizes, some you’ll know and some… surprises!” Nicola Davies’s rhyming text is great fun to read aloud. Her language choices are really expressive and will help to expand your child’s vocabulary. For example, animals are described as scaly, curly whirly and squat. Minibeasts squirm and squiggle. Bats have flapping, gliding, zooming wings. Davies has a degree in zoology and so her text contains specialist vocabulary too. I had to look up what was meant by dolphins’ flukes. The book has been produced to a very high standard by the publishers, Graffeg. The paper is of a lovely quality and the book is gloriously saturated with colour. I really like the variety in page layout too and the creative interplay between the text and the illustrations. The book ends with a match the tail to the animal puzzle and there’s an additional interactive element on the minibeast page too. Oh and if, like me, your knowledge of zoology is somewhat lacking, Graffeg have produced a very handy guide to all the animals in the book that you can download from their website. (I had envisaged frantic research on my part before sharing the book with my son!) There are two more books in the series and we definitely want to read them too – they look just as brilliant.” via Toppsta
Featured in The Best Children’s and Teen’s books we Read in March 2017 at Scottish Book Trust.