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*African Animals ABC* by Philippa-Alys Browne
African Animals ABC
by Philippa-Alys Browne
Ages 2-5 32 pages Barefoot Books March 2001 Paperback    

There’s an animal in Africa for every letter of the alphabet - even the x! Giraffe is dozing in her picture, warthog is charging in his, and the vulture obviously has his eye on something.

Philippa-Alys Browne has drawn each A-to-Z African animal in its natural surroundings. Crocodile is on a sandy bank about to enter the water. Bushbaby is up in a tree stretching her limbs, and Quail is moving through the tall grasses. Tortoise is eating, and Kingfisher is ready to dive into the water. My favorite picture is the semi-submerged, crossed-legged hippo sleeping in the water.

The animals have a realistic appearance but with fantastical repeating colors and patterns all over their bodies. Elephant has green zigzags and polka dots. Nyala has a pale beige feathered look to her fur. Most impressive is Porcupine with her red, yellow, blue and green quills. The use of patterned colors seen on the animals continues into nature. In one picture, the blades of grass are strokes of purple, orange, blue and green. The grass that Rhino is flattening is different still, outlined in green and colored in with orange and red. Some pictures have skies of yellow, sometimes blue, but never dull. The pictures also have colorful arcs of patterns within them, as well. They remind me of patterned rainbows.

Bold frames are used throughout the book, too. All of the 26 colorful animals are outlined in a thick dark color, usually black or purple, and each animal displayed is in a bolded black square frame.

This book is a wonderful way for children to learn about animals and the alphabet. Philippa-Alys Browne’s other books include Kangaroos Have Joeys and Elephants and Emus. Nature seems to be her canvas in these books, and her inspiration.

Included in the back of the book are Animal Notes. Readers can turn here for facts and details about all the animals illustrated in this book - size, diet, particular sounds the animals make, and information about how they live. A distinction of endangered, specially protected, or vulnerable are included when necessary.

I recommend this book. Philippa-Alys Browne shows us African animals in a striking way.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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