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Book Review: Animal Crackers

Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan

Animal Crackers

The O’Brien Press, August 2020

Paperback, 176PP, €11.99

ISBN: 9781788490658

Review by Joanna Geoghegan

Did you know that dolphins only shut down half their brain when they sleep? Or that polar bears’ fur isn’t white – it’s actually translucent to allow light to hit their skin, which helps keep them warm in the freezing Arctic Circle! Animal Crackers is a wonderful little handbook about animals from all over the world, straight from the brilliantly creative minds of Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan. 

The wit and easy flow of Sarah Webb’s writing combines with Alan Nolan’s charming illustrations to produce a book that is informative, easy to read and highly entertaining for readers of all ages. Animal Crackers is bursting with information about every animal you’ve ever heard of, and a few that you haven’t. The light humour throughout the book, and the intriguing facts about every animal ensure that the reader will be gripped right through to the end. Young readers will also love the interactive element of the book, which includes activities, games and drawing tutorials.

The wide variety of illustrations presented throughout the book ensure that each page is rich and unique. Nolan presents realistic, wonderfully detailed illustrations of each and every animal, interspersed with close-ups and diagrams of certain features to give a greater idea of the overall appearance and workings of each of the creatures in the book’s pages. Nolan also presents a keen understanding of children’s humour through his endearing cartoon-style illustrations of Hoppy and his various friends.

This highly insightful book carries a vital message about the effect that global warming is having on animals’ habitats and their food sources, both of which have been negatively affected worldwide due to rising global temperatures. The book provides an in-depth explanation of the consequences of climate changed caused by humans, and what steps need to be taken to prevent more damage being done.

The vast amount of research undertaken by Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan in the production of this book shines through on each and every page, and adults and children alike stand to gain from the knowledge within, whether simply by learning about the fascinating animals or following the authors’ advice on how to help combat climate change and protect animals’ natural habitats. Recommended Age 8-12.