Category Archives: Nature


Litercurious Book Review

Ocean Planet by Ben Rothery
TitleOcean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore
(Part of The Rothery’s Animal Planet Series)
AuthorBen Rothery
Publisher Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021)
GenreChildren’s Environment & Ecology,
Children’s Zoology, Children’s Marine Life
Language English
ISBN# 10/130884489167 / 978-0884489160



Author and Illustrator of Ocean Planet – A Marine Life Book for children aged 9-12 years. Ben lives in London and works from his small studio in the capital . See more here.


Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery, is an exceptional work for children. Rothery’s stupendously executed illustrations bring nature to life. Although Rothery’s exquisite masterpiece is meant for children aged 9-12 years, I believe that the book has a much broader appeal.

Ocean Planet covers a diverse range of wildlife as varied as the marine birds-of-the-air to the bacteria living in hydrothermal vents in the depths of the oceans. The book covers everything from the tiniest of microscopic organisms, also known as plankton, to the largest underwater species – the Blue Whale. Although Rothery primarily focuses on the marine environment, he also includes land animals and their environments and habitats. Polar Bears, Leopard Seals, and Penguins are not neglected; nor are the Wolves of British Columbia or the Bengal Tigers of the mangroves of north-west India.

Rothery shares his enthusiasm for his subjects with large, full color, high definition plates. All the plates are accompanied by comprehensive introductions to the relevant facts, figures, and details about the individual subjects. Rothery’s unbridled enthusiasm for nature and his undeniable skill coalesce into a joyful, engaging, and edifying experience. Ocean Planet is a true work of art in every sense of the word.


Ocean Planet is a banquet for the eyes, a stimulant for the mind, and a tonic for the soul. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and so it is with Ben Rothery’s magnificently illustrated work. It is not an over-statement to say that this book is truly epic.

The illustrations are bordering on hyperrealistic and are so well executed that they move ones soul and strain credulity. That one man could create with his primitive tools such a magnificent panoply of life like, natural subjects is truly an impressive feat.

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood? Does the thought of it even now stir your memory and take you back to more innocent, happy days? Well Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery could be that legacy for your child. Please do not take my word for it, I encourage you to get a copy and decide for yourself.

This book makes a great gift; but take care, it is such a valuable jewel that you may well claim it for yourself. I have to admit Ocean Planet is on the top of my gift list this year, and I cannot wait to own a stunning copy.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Ben Rothery, Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021), and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Ocean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore.




Click on image for more
Title The Truth About Animals
Author Lucy Cooke
Publisher Basic Books; I Edition (April 17, 2018)
Format Paperback
Pages 352
Language English
ISBN # 1541674081 (ISBN-13: 978-1541674080)


Lucy Cooke has a Master’s in Zoology from British New Collage, Oxford. She specializes in animal behavior and evolution. Among Lucy’s professors at Oxford was Richard Dawkins, who is a world-renowned Zoologist and author. Lucy is passionate about conservation as well as her love of all sloth kind. She is referred to as the next David Attenborough in some circles.

Her Curriculum Vitae includes a diverse range of skills including: television producer, director, award- winning documentary presenter, and filmmaker. Lucy has lecture at TED talks, was a New York Times best-selling author, and founded the Sloth Appreciation Society.

In May, 2015 at the age of 45, Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She changed her lifestyle as a result of the diagnosis and has an increased appreciation of life and love.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

CANADA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleCanada: Visual Explorer Guide Series
AuthorNorah Myers
Publisher Amber Books
GenreTravel, Reference, Adventure
ISBN #981782749608


Norah Myers grew up in Winnipeg and has lived in Toronto and London. Having returned to her hometown, she can most often be found on a Pilates machine.

Biography from Amber Books website.


Canada part of the Amber Books Explorer Guide series is fundamentally a visual atlas; set out in 200 ultra-high definition, color, full-page 6 by 4 inch spread photographs. Whilst diminutive for a book of its kind, Canada would be a perfect book suitable for displaying on your desk or library. It could just as easily be carried in your pocket or bag.

This illustrated gallery encompasses the width and breadth of the nation detailing its vast array of unique environments and wildlife habitats. The visuals include both natural and urban images. Presented in landscape format that provides a superior viewing experience. Each section has a short clearly transcribed description and brief additional historic information about the location of the presented plate to each province and territory.

Canada covers many aspects that make the country an extraordinary place to live or visit. Myers has included information about: the local culture, national history, wildlife, unique culture, and even that most Canadian of foods known as poutine.


The exterior visage of Myers illustrated book of Canada was simply breath-taking. It engenders a very real sense of anticipation and a genuine frisson of excitement as the prospective reader.

I found my initial expectations were not entirely met. My initial visceral anticipation that was engendered by the cover quickly became jaded. I expected there would be an abundance of wildlife images, but I was disappointed. Almost 80% of the images were of cities, architecture, bridges, and in one case an image of an apartment buildings post boxes. Whilst I was disappointed, I still adored the wildlife and nature photography. 

I found the nature images together with the written narrative satisfying. I still enjoyed the overall viewing and reading experience. Amber Books are renowned for publications of this kind. They always produce memorable picture books and despite some small distractions, Canada is still a very memorable work. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Norah Myers, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Canada from their Explorer Guide Series.


See more information on the Aber Books Site.



Litercurious Book Review

TitleA Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures:
An Illustrated Encyclopedia
AuthorSami Bayly
PublisherThe Experiment (October 27, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
Page 128
GenreChildren’s Non-Fiction, Animals, Children’s Zoology


Sami Bayly is a natural history illustrator based in Newcastle. She loves all things, weird and wonderful. She finds the beauty and importance of all animals regardless of their appearance, and hopes to share her appreciation with others.

Sami’s first book, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals, won the Children’s Indie Book of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award, the ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children, and the Australian Book Design Awards. It was longlisted for the ABA Booksellers’ Choice 2020 Book of the Year Awards.


Weird and wonderfully strange creatures are presented on a double page spread per subject. Utilizing an infographic style, the page layout includes a one-page description and a page covering the particulars of each creature; such as: where they live, what they eat, their conservation status and fun facts.

The key illustrations are large, colorful and life-like. In addition, there are pen and ink sketches depicting the creature in focus from different perspectives. There are also infographics depicting an average sized man next to each creature to allow the viewer to establish scale. All of these descriptive annotations are displayed on a velum colored background.

There are 61 examples of curious creatures continued within the 128 pages. What follows are a few examples of the fascinating animals, fish, birds and invertebrates that you can find in Bayly’s enchanting work:

RETICULATED STARGAZER – Dactyloscopus Foraminosus Blanchardi

This diminutive fish is literally nightmare fuel. The Reticulated Stargazer projects a terrifying countenance enhanced by the full page color image. With large eyes protruding from the top if its head as it languishes half-buried in sand and a mouth full of sharp dirty teeth; the thought of an encounter with this mini monster is sobering. At only three inches long, it blends skillfully into the environment. This is quite alarming when you realize that this tiny terror can deliver a shock of 50 volts from between its eyes. If electrocution isn’t bad enough, it can inject you with venom from two spines on its back. If all this were not disgusting enough, the Reticulated Stargazer has the propensity to burp back the scales of it’s last meal.

Consider for a moment that these were the fun facts about this fish.

SARCASTIC FRINGEHEAD – Neoclinus Blanchardi

Looking like an off-world monster with a disarticulated hinged jaw, the Sarcastic Fringehead is a vision from a horror movie. So violent it attacks fishermen, who as a result avoid them like the plague. They enjoy the luxury of having few natural threats, and it is thought that this is partially the reason for their aggression. Fortunately, these omnivores are deep sea fish who consume squid, plankton, crustaceans, and small fish. Their habitat is off the Coast of California and Mexico, 195 feet down in the depths.

TARDIGRADE – Tardigrada

Tardigrade are better known as the Water Bear. They are invertebrates that live three months to two and a half years. However, if they become dormant, they can last as long aa thirty years in stasis. Some are hermaphroditic; also known as intersex, while others can clone themselves. Tardigrade’s can survive in temperature extremes as well as being capable of cryptobiosis. They are cannibalistic and can also use tubes to suck juices from moss, algae, and bacteria. They are survivors and have been around for over 500 million years.

These are just a few of the 61 animals depicted. You might find: The Aye-Aye, the Hairless Chinese Crested Dog, The Blob Fish, The Purple Pig-Nosed Frog or the Naked Mole Rat just as interesting. 


A Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures is a fascinating, entertaining and fun journey through the world of strange, exotic and captivating animals. It is packed full of interesting knowledge about the private lives of the most bizarre wildlife. A perfect excursion for children wanting to discover the fringe world of fantastic and unique critters.

In my opinion children would enjoy this publication. It is containing scientifically based information set in easy digestible chunks for young, hungry minds. I feel assured that A Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures would stimulate and entertain but more importantly that it will encourage further research. When learning is fun children are driven to want to learn more and this is the true strength of Bayly’s scintillating work. It is simply a joy to the eye and the mind equally.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Sami Bayly, NetGalley and The Experiment for affording me the opportunity to review A Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures.


Q: What do sea monsters eat?

A: Fish and ships.



Litercurious Book Reviews

TitleElephant: Stunning Photographs of the World’s
Biggest Land Mammals
AuthorTom Jackson
PublisherAmber Books
GenreNature, Science, Reference
Pages 224 Pages / 175 photos
ISBN #9781782749660


Tom Jackson is a leading natural history writer based in the United Kingdom. As an author and contributor he has worked on more than 60 books. A zoology graduate from the University of Bristol, he has also worked as a zookeeper and in safari parks in Zimbabwe.


Tom Jackson is the author of Elephants. He created a bright, bold and resplendently illustrated gallery of the species Elephas Maximus. His work is a snap-shot of the worlds largest land mammal. It is bristling with a huge array of simply beguiling, double and single full page spreads. The photographs are full color, ultrahigh definition of the African and Indian Elephants in their natural habitats. Among the images are pictures of the animals at the various stages of maturation. Bulls, cows, and calfs are depicted alone and in family groups and herds.

The stunning photographs are accompanied by short informative passages relating to the photograph and the elephants. There are some interesting factoids scattered throughout the book in bite sized pieces for your entertainment. You can expect to increase your knowledge of the species and the subspecies; from the African bush Elephants to the Asian pygmy variety. You will learn how the elephants reproduce, feed, hunt, rear their calfs and defend their herds.


Elephants, by Tom Jackson is a breath taking collection of the very best nature photography you will see. The images have managed to capture the very soul of the animal. I found it profoundly touching knowing that they face such serious threats from poachers, who hunt them for their ivory.

Jackson managed to infect me with his passion for this subject. His work is thought provoking and challenging at times. He clearly has a great respect for these most majestic of all land animals. He is very concerned about their future. His short annotations compliment completely the 175 vivid images.

Although the concept of the book is simply delivered, the profundity of the contents will continue to fill your dreams long after you have closed the book.

My favorite images in the book were of the calfs. They have to be seen to be believed. They are so touching, as to warm even the coldest heart. They are the very definition of adorable.


Amber Books are the monarchs of nature photography publications. Elephants, by Tom Jackson is another stupendous offering from this esteemed publishing house. Quality comes as standard with Amber Books and they always produce a superior product. So it was no surprise to me, having reviewed several of their earlier publications, that Elephants continues their sterling work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Tom Jackson, NetGalley and Amber Books for affording me the opportunity to review Elephants.