The Bedside Ark wasn’t a Christmas gift, but it arrived shortly before Christmas and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Subtitled A riotous assembly of unrespectable creatures, it is absolutely delightful and I found myself smiling at David Muirhead’s very clever humour.
The 42 accounts of animals are not exact in format, which adds to the interest of the book. For example, the book starts with an aardvark, first in the alphabet, then it abandons the alphabetic structure completely. A little surprise from a naughty author.
Some of the animal word portraits, sadly not all of them, are beautifully illustrated in quirky pencil sketches by Patricia de Villiers. Perfectly chosen, the sketches are both accurate and quirky, so as on the cover, a rather serious ostrich made vaguely ridiculous by the addition of an ostrich feather head dress and earrings.
The information is simultaneously educative and entertaining. Funny non-fiction. It really is a treat.
It is an excellent book for gifts for there can be few people who won’t enjoy it. It would particularly be suited to high school learners looking for something to read aloud in class projects demanding something along these lines. It does offer a little peek into everything you ever wanted to know about warthogs, seahorses and giraffe.
Title: The Bedside Ark
Subtitle: A riotous assembly of unrespectable creatures
Author: David Muirhead
Illustrator: Patricia de Villiers
Publisher: Struik Nature, imprint of Penguin Random House
Recommended Selling Price: R160