________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 2. . . .September 12, 2014


Unnatural Selections.

Wallace Edwards.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2014.
32 pp., hc., pdf & epub, $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0555-2 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0556-9 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0557-6 (epub).

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

Reviewed from f&gs.

*** /4



Remember those books that allow you to mix and match horizontal flaps to create funny people and animals? Wallace Edwards has produced a sophisticated version of that idea here in Unnatural Selections.


Unnatural Selections is a catalogue of unusual hybrid animals, with each image accompanied by a two-line verse. From the Whalephant (“Everyone who gets to see him, secretly would like to be him.”) to a flourishing finish with the Skip, which is an amalgam of moose, pig, swan, zebra, cheetah, bat and fox, described as “A wondrous beast, to say the least’, Edwards’ menagerie just gets odder and odder.

internal art     The Tyrabbosaurus Rex, which is a combination of a T-rex and a rabbit is one of my favourite images. This is a creature with a fluffy body and a frightening head whose mouth is open to receive a shower of carrots - delivered by parrots, of course.

     The pages are full of eye-popping detail, but the fantastical and unexpected are grounded in an obvious knowledge of real flora and fauna described in meticulous watercolour and pencil technique. The brisk text rings of Ogden Nash’s playful rhymes.

     Unnatural Selections is not a book for story time, but it’s one to be examined spread by spread for all its detail and visual jokes.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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