An Illustrated Exploration of Animals That Have Disappeared
Written by Lucas Riera
Illustrated by Jack Tite
Phaidon Press 12/11/2019
48 Pages Age 7—10
11.25” x 14”
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Nonfiction
Themes: Endangered & Extinct Animals, Conservation,
Caring for the earth is a subject at the forefront of the news—young people are curious about our animal populations and learning to protect them. Packed with engaging facts, stories, and stunning graphics, Extinct: An Illustrated Exploration of Animals That Have Disappeared focuses on species that were lost recently, specifically from the 20th century to the present day. Extinct isn’t about mammoths and dinosaurs—it’s about tigers, bears, and rhinos and so many more animals familiar to kids. (press release)
From the majestic Caspian tiger to the dazzling golden toad, animals are going extinct more quickly than ever before. In the pages of this book, readers will encounter over 80 extraordinary animals that have disappeared from our planet during the last 100 years. Celebrate their beauty and unique qualities, and learn how we can work together today to protect endangered species around the world. (back cover)
“When we talk about extinct animals—animals that have disappeared from our planet—we tend to focus on dinosaurs, mammoths, or mastodons—unfamiliar, extraordinary creatures that disappeared from the face of the earth millions of years ago. We are fascinated by what we know of these enormous beasts that once ruled the sky, the sea, and the earth.”
Why I like this book
An over-sized book, Extinct, is filled from edge-to-edge with more than 80 animals, if you count the birds and insects. Sadly, nearly all are now gone, due most often to humans. Every animal died out of existence in the last one-hundred years, or in what experts consider the “Sixth Extinction.” Extinct seems like a huge encyclopedia of “modern” animals and their demise. Chapters have interestingly alliterated titles, such as: Amazing Athletes (antelopes and gazelles), Fabulous Felines (tigers, leopards, lynx, and cougars), Superb Swimmers (sea cows, monk seals, and sea lions), and Big and Beautiful (hippos and rhinos). Most animals have a small paragraph of interesting things about it, including the last time it had been seen and the year of its extinction.
Some of these alliterated animals are interesting on their own. Maybe the most interesting of animals in Extinct is the Great Auk. This flightless bird was a terrific swimmer! It caught fish for its supper and could stand three feet tall. This odd-looking bird from Europe and N. America has a “literary connection.” The Great Auk became extinct, according to the author, “due to a series of unfortunate circumstances.”
Young children will love the huge size of this book and will enjoy simply looking at all the colorful “exotic” animals. Older kids will find animals they most likely have never seen or heard of before reading Extinct. Kids can use Extinct as the jumping off point for a school assignment about conservation, climate control, or other large environmental issue. Teachers can use Extinct for many of the same reasons, but will probably find some of the resources used in writing the book of greater interest for lesson planning and classroom use.
Several of the extinct animals reportedly have been seen, but not documented, leaving a big mystery for the next generation to decipher. They need hurry, as animals are dying out every week.
Extinct: An Illustrated Exploration of Animals That Have Disappeared pays tribute to extinct and endangered animals. Hopefully, readers will be inspired to take action. Plant Earth needs immediate help with several issues that affect every animal, including humans; climate control, conservation, environmentalism, water safety, and endangered animals (to name a few). Reading Extinct is a great place for kids to begin.
I like the Fuegian Dog, maybe for its history of pethood. These gentle, good-natured foxes were pets to the indigenous Yaghan people of S. America. Not everyone were enamored with this cuties. European settlers considered the foxes pests not pets. (Amazing how one letter changed this “dog’s” fate.) By the early 1900s, the settlers had exterminated the foxes into extinction.
Not really considered “back matter” since Extinct classifies these last three sections as chapters, but they are important enough to have their own section. The first is titles, Extinction Today. This explains how humans have and continue to accelerate the rate of natural extinction by as much as 1000 times the normal rate. Included in Extinction Today is how we can make a difference now and how organizations and people help endangered animals today.
10 Critically Endangered Animals follows. These animals, each illustrated, currently are “facing an extremely high risk of extinction.” According to IUCN (Union for Conservation of Nature), these ten animals are nearly gone.
How Can I Help? Offers four options for helping: get involved on a local level, get involved internationally, make responsible buying choices, and exhibit good habits (the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle).
Available at Amazon
EXTINCT: AN ILLUSTRATED EXPLORATION OF ANIMALS THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED. Text Copyright © 2019 by Lucas Riera. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Jack Tite. Published by Phaidon Press Inc., New York, NY.
**Originally published in 2019 by Mosquito Books Barcelona in Spain.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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