Owen Davey, Crazy About Cats, Walker Books Australia, 1 Sept 2017, 40pp., $27.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781911171164
Following author/illustrator Owen Davey’s Mad About Monkeys (2015) and Smart About Sharks (2016), this latest non-fiction information book in the series has plenty of fascinating facts about the cat family to interest independent readers from about Year 5 +. Davey’s distinctive retro-feel, stylised illustrations are an attractive addition.
For this book, an animal consultant has come on board, and the facts are faultless. They cover the full gamut of the world’s cat species, from the largest tigers to rusty-spotted cats half the size of a domestic moggy. Topics include species, size, external appearance, body structure, evolution, hunting techniques, record holders (e.g. fluffiest), mythology and much, much more.
The writing is interesting, entertaining, and witty. Even the headings are fun, while still mostly managing to describe the content they refer to. The page about lions, for example, features gems like Pride and Predators and Mane Attraction.
Back matter consists of a simple lineage index incorporating details about species, scientific name and geographic distribution for good measure. This could be useful for class discussions about categorization and reference material.
An earthy colour palette is used in all the book’s striking illustrations. The endpapers are also stunning, and serve to summarise the species featured throughout the book in one handy place.
This beautiful book will delight young animal lovers and art lovers alike. Its immersive design encourages readers to dip in and browse various sections rather than read from cover to cover, which helps to make it a useful resource for reluctant readers and those researching a school project.
Reviewed by Julie Murphy