Graeme Base is one of the world's leading creators of picture books. Animalia received international acclaim when it was first published in 1986 and it has achieved classic status with worldwide sales of more than two million copies. Base's most recent picture book, The Water Hole, an ingenious fusion of counting book, puzzle book, storybook and artbook, has been published in Australia, the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Denmark and the UK. Base lives in Melbourne with his artist wife Robyn and their three children.
Base has created an ABC book that goes far beyond a simple listing of items in alphabetical order. There are captions or headlines accompanying each letter's scene, such as ``Eight Enormous Elephants Expertly Eating Easter Eggs,'' or ``Two Tigers Taking the 10:20 Train to Timbuktu.'' Each picture is replete with an apparently random choice of objects that have in common (on every page but the one for the letter X) their first letters. This Australian import makes for a delightful visual feast, though it lacks a clear conceptual coherence or unity of action or meaning on every page. No matterreaders will have a fine time guessing at objects and searching for a small child who hides among the pages; and the meticulous artistry is far-reaching in its innovation, detail and humor. Base's monumental effort will not go unrewarded; if books could be honored for the sheer number of hours readers could pore over crammed pages, and for the inexhaustible supply of extra touches, this one surely would be a winner. All ages. (September)
"A delightful visual feast . . . if books could be honored for the sheer number of hours readers could pore over crammed pages, and for the inexhaustible supply of extra touches, this one surely would be a winner."--Publisher's Weekly
"Careful observation reveals many less obvious objects and creatures, all beginning with the same letter. The illustrations are mixed media and are fun to look at."--Children's Literature "This beautiful book contains thirteen small tales about those who live in harmony with Animalia, kingdom of the animals...Each tale captures wisdom about the world we share with animals. This is a beautiful book in every sense."--The Hungry Mind Review