Last week, I went to see Martin Brown at Oxford Literary Festival where he was talking about his new book, Lesser Spotted Animals 2. The first Lesser Spotted Animals was our 2017 Information Category winner, a wonderful book which uses humour and empathy to introduce the reader to animals - many endangered- which are less well known than perhaps they should be. It is a fascinating book being very successfully used for guided reading in addition to being a fabulous book for the library.
Martin’s session was wonderful. His brilliant sense of humour instantly engaged the audience as he skilfully introduced us to some fabulous creatures: the black and rufous sengi- also known as the black and rufous elephant shrew, for example and Blainville’s beaked whale for another. Martin explained that although he could have used photographs or made very realistic drawings for his books, he decided to use the cartoon style of illustration so that he could adopt a more light-hearted approach.
Martin set out to convince the audience that anyone can draw- that no one is born playing the piano or able to do maths. These are skills that are learned and developed just as drawing can be. He then set about engaging everyone in making suggestions and showing how a face can be built with different features and showing different expressions.
This second book introduces more wildlife we rarely get to hear about, making the argument that we can’t help any creature- endangered or not- if we don’t even know of its existence. In Martin’s very chatty and accessible style, the plight of each creature introduced is shared with the reader as well as fascinating facts about them and where they live. Although humour is successfully used, Martin does not shy away from conveying the danger many of these creatures are in. When talking about the grey slender loris, for example, he ends with the words ‘The problem is, us big primates are not going away.’
Every bit as enjoyable as the first book, ‘Lesser Spotted Animals 2’ is as entertaining as it is fascinating. Bravo, Mr Brown- another triumph!
Lesser Spotted Animals 2 Martin Brown
David Fickling Books ISBN:978-1788450393
You can read our review of Lesser Spotted Animals here.