This book is a beautiful celebration of diversity and difference - as important in the natural world as it is in human society.
William Spring’s striking and brilliant animal paintings take centre stage in a book that celebrates the outsiders of the animal world - the unusual and the often-ignored - and how they evolved to play a vital role in the ecosystem.
All of nature is beautiful - from the tiniest of insects to the largest of mammals. But many of nature's inhabitants are unusual, very different from humans or from the cute, fluffy animals that we tend to be drawn to. Yet to ignore them is to disregard the vital role that these creatures play in our ecosystem. Animals that don't fit the aesthetic norm are often neglected in favour of the more generically appealing: the photogenic, the ‘cuddly’ and those that display human-like characteristics, or ‘cute’ child-like features. The bottom line is that so often a creature’s aesthetic appeal directly impacts its chances of survival.
At the beginning, a brief explanation of the process of evolution shows that everything in the natural world is perfectly adapted to its ‘niche’: from the smallest worm and insect through birds, mammals, fish, plants and fungi. The book then explains the evolutionary processes behind why a creature looks as it does, explaining in simple ways how and why certain features developed, with illustrations of some of those steps. The book then explores the world of unusual creatures. William Spring's stunning paintings show a selection of them in their true beauty over amazing double page spreads, explaining the vital role they play in the natural world.
The list of animals includes:
Every animal, like every human, has the right to shout out 'I am what I am'!
Growing up in the countryside, William developed a love and respect for the natural world from an early age. This has informed much of his work over the past 30 years in a range of contexts and media.
In the past, he worked as a cartoonist for magazines such as Punch and Private Eye; as an archaeological illustrator and as a background artist for animation studios in Australia.