The Variety of Life


A huge variety of creatures, from bears to butterflies, slugs to sharks, are described, compared and illustrated in this outstanding picture book. Zoologist Dr Nicola Davies offers respectful, thorough information about the habits and habitats of the creatures selected, their individual differences, peculiarities and threats.

The Variety of Life is a fulsome, respectful and thoroughly informative title. It is the sort of reference book upon which I would linger over, thinking, considering, learning and loving.

There is a surge of popularity and growing respect for informed non-fiction books in the age of unfiltered ‘news’. Nicola Davies’ educated titles are a great place to start for any reader looking for something to dip into and return, read and reread, compare, learn and enjoy. Bookwagon recommends The Variety of Life to our readers.

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The Variety of Life

Nicola Davies, illustrated by Lorna Scobie

(Hodder Children’s Books)- hardback

In The Variety of Life, zoologist and esteemed picture book writer Nicola Davies examines some of the many wonderful creatures on our planet. Therefore, we journey through different species. We learn why mammals are mammals for example, and compare their habitat, diets and status. Then again we look at their animal sub families’ and individual characteristics. It seems, as with the author’s earlier A First Book of Animals that we might dip in. Thereafter, we’ve the opportunity to take as little or as much as we need. However, while that book has a poetic element, we realise the zoologist in the writer with The Variety of Life. What’s more, Lorna Scobie’s watercolour pictures are deliberate, detailed and multiple. They expand upon the depth of living creatures upon our planet, their individuality and wealth and finally our interconnectiveness. It’s evident that there was much time and care in the shape of this non-fiction picture book; at each visit we learn more and then question anew. Then again, the research is exemplary and the presentation superb. Bookwagon suggests that this is a superb choice for a gift, a book to pore over and share.


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