21 January, 2011

Australian Picture Book Authors and Illustrators: Graeme Base -Animalia

Title: Animalia
Published: 1986
Awards: None

An alphabet book with a difference! Graeme Base’s second book is a feast for your eyes and your brain. On the title page, there is a poem which says:

Each page is a gorgeously detailed illustration where you can hunt not only for the little boy, but for as many things starting with that letter. The text is alliteration with some really fantastic sentences coming out.

Craft Crimson Cats carefully catching Crusty Crayfish.

Ingenious Iguanas improvising an intricate impromptu on impossibly impractical instruments.

Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.
Proud Peacocks preening perfect plumage.

Animalia was Base’s first big break. The book captured the imagination of readers and the detailed illustrations made it a delight to share. It’s a book that works for a variety of age groups – from those who love a good read aloud, to the older kids who love to scour the pages looking for as many things as possible. It also marked the beginning of providing hidden messages and pictures which occurs in many of his books.

Links to other Graeme Base books I am looking at can be found here.

The official Graeme Base website can be found here.


  1. Showing my age here, but I was in primary when the this book was released and remember fondly spending time as a whole family pouring over the pages looking for the little boy and seeing how many things we could find beginning with that letter!
    I then got the eleventh hour and spent ages trying to work out who ate the cake!

  2. Animalia. I am sure you can hear my sigh from a mile away. One of my absolute favorites. Graeme Base is truly a genius. I was in Australia twice last year and I checked out most of his books (and Shaun Tan's as well) - wow, e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e. But truly worth it. So glad that I chanced upon your website through the PictureBook reading challenge. =)

  3. Chris Jones, FloridaMay 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Anyone notice the swastika on the "N" page? or the Bible on the doorway to hell on "H"? Or who about the doll-shaped pin cushion on the "V" page (voodoo)?
    Yeah, this book is garage sale fodder.
    Hey, Mr. Base... stick to writing kids books, and leave the indoctrination of my children to ME.

    1. I don't think he was trying to push any religion on anyone, he came up with things that had the same first letter...silly to think that really...

  4. My favourite discovery in Animalia was on the P page. Why were there two pandas? Why did one look like Pooh Bear picking up stuff in the 100 Acre Wood. Then I saw the studs on the costume and realized it was Pooh PRETENDING to be a Panda Picking up Pinecones. Base's finest grace note IMHO.