Astonishing Animals


Astonishing Animals by Tim Flannery and illustrated by Peter Schouten

(Alternate title: Astonishing Animals: Extraordinary Creatures and the Fantastic Worlds They Inhabit) 

Synopsis: Sumptuous birds of paradise, amazing soft shell turtles, frogs that look like tomatoes, and terrifying fish (including the deep-water angler fish from Finding Nemo) are just some of the extraordinary creatures that can be found in Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten’s new book Astonishing Animals.

Superbly illustrated in lifelike full color paintings, Astonishing Animals details ninety of the world’s most amazing animals from around the world. In this book you will find the Hairy Seadevil, the spectacular Sulawesi Naked Bat, and in the depths of the limestone caves in Slovenia, the Olm, a pink, four-legged, sightless salamander that lives for a hundred years. In fascinating vignettes, Flannery offers the true evolutionary tale of how each of these bizarre creatures came to look the way they do. Alongside each historical account is a stunning hand painted color reproduction (life-size in the original painting) by Schouten.

Filled with purple-faced apes, jagged toothed dolphins, antlered lizards, Astonishing Animals is a remarkable collection of the world’s most incredible creatures and the stories behind their remarkable survival into a modern age.

Published: September 2004 | ISBN-13: 978-1920885212

Mini-bio: Tim Flannery is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist. He was the Chief Commissioner of the Climate Commission, a Federal Government body providing information on climate change to the Australian public. On 23 September 2013 Flannery announced that he would join other sacked commissioners to form the independent Climate Council, that would be funded by the community. – Wikipedia

Peter’s Homepage:

This well written and exquisitely illustrated book could serve as a fun way to foster youngsters’ interests in zoology by showing them just how wacky and wonderful animals can be. It’s also a great read for any adult animal enthusiast, as many of the creatures depicted are so obscure almost every reader is bound to encounter something new. Especially since, in a rather mischievous act, one of the featured animals doesn’t actually exist!  Peter Schouten’s vibrant illustrations bring the creatures to life, while Tim Flannery’s descriptions are informative and entertaining.  And despite being a qualified zoologist, I am struggling to pick out the fictional animal! – From 10 Great Books on Scientific Illustration

Flannery’s words…tell us much. Each piece of text is an informative and thought-provoking natural history story…Astonishing Animals [is] a large, glossy, luxuriously produced work: 97 creatures are wonderfully and lovingly illustrated by Schouten, often with extraordinary double-page illustrations…How, one wonders, can a lavish work like this be sold for $50? – The Age

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