Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures

Tania McCartney

Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures
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Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures

Tania McCartney

Did you know that platypus have retractable webbing on their hind feet  to enable an easy transition from swimming to digging? That kangaroos can’t  sweat and that the cassowary has no tongue?       

In Fauna - Australia’s Most  Curious Creatures, readers are constantly introduced to facts that delight,  amaze and induce sheer wonder at the clever design and adaptability of our  much-loved native fauna. The information on each individual species is presented in small ‘bites’ to hold the interest of younger readers, while the information taken in total  gives a comprehensive summary of each species, including breeding and feeding habits, physical characteristics, habitat and other unique and quirky features.       

Fauna also has a strong conservation message with an ‘extinction roll call’ and a rating for the vulnerability of endangered species. The stylised illustrations in Fauna  are lively, colourful and informative, highlighting facts that lend themselves  more to pictures than words e.g. the actual size of crocodile teeth, or the  mechanics of the echidna’s beak. There is also humour in the illustrations - is  that kangaroo with dark glasses actually from a different kind of mob?       

Readers young and old will be delighted and informed by Fauna.


Australia is home to more animal species than any other developed country, with a large percentage of them found nowhere else on earth, and because of the isolated nature of our country many have evolved to be very unusual and curious indeed. Did you know, for example, that the koala has two thumbs for extra grip? Or that the lyrebird has a remarkable ability to perfectly mimic almost any sound – a car alarm, a mobile phone, a dog barking, even a human voice? Perhaps you knew that kangaroos have two stomachs, they regurgitate their food, chew it and then swallow it all over again? We get to discover all of this and more in Tania McCartney’s latest book Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures.

The layout and illustrations in this exquisite nonfiction title once again portray McCartney’s talents for design. The information is presented in segments that the younger reader can delve into, as well as supplying a comprehensive dialogue to keep the more advanced entertained. We learn about habitat, physical characteristics, feeding and breeding, with added details about each animal’s current conservation status from Extinct (EX) to Least Concern (LC), many are scarily listed as Endangered (EN) or Vulnerable (VU).

This book will capture the eye with its gorgeous illustrations, share some brilliant facts about Australia’s animals, and also teach us awareness so perhaps we can safeguard these curious creatures.

Claire Atherfold is the children’s book buyer at Readings State Library.

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