Paul Thurlby’s Wildlife

by Paul Thurlby

{published 2013, by Templar}

You know you have a book problem when you forget what lives in your piles. I bought this book when it pubbed back in March, and that tiger’s binocular’d glare stared me down the other day. I snatched it from the pile with the furious preying eyes of the creatures bound in this book.

(Dramatic? Sorry. You must not have heard Carmina Burana playing in the background of my opening monologue. Do you hear it now?!) In the early days of this blog (almost two years ago!), I wrote about Paul Thurlby’s AlphabetI made lame jokes about Thanksgiving (‘if you’re stuffed, feast your eyes on this!’), so as you can see my wit and humor hasn’t improved much since.

Good thing Paul Thurlby has.  And that statement is a stretch as commentary on his genius, but I do think I might like this one even more than his last. This is a mashup of pictures and words in the most clever of ways. Each page shows us an animal bursting with personality. Look at that rat! (Reminds me of these rodents a little bit!) And each is captioned with a quirky fact which explains just what the heck is happening in the illustration. Here, it’s:

Keeping their skin moist by showering is important for elephants’ health.


Rats spend a third of their lives washing themselves.

Dolphins sleep with one eye open, while resting one half of their brain at a time.

Lions hunt at night, thanks to their ability to see well in the dark. Because the factoids lean toward kooky, the pictures’ silliness both shine and remain surprising. When I talked about Paul Thurlby before, I mentioned unity. Still holds. Still a package wrapped up in perfect pictures and words. But what I am most drawn to in his work are his textures.  The grid, the distressed edges, the scratches, tape, and imperfections – all of those design decisions add a layer of warmth and grit to a bunch of terrifying but desperately adorable creatures.

Watch out for giraffes if you’re on stilts and run across them in the wild. They have 21-inch tongues!



  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Oh, Carter! I LOVE this one….the colors and the little bits of cool notes. Perfect for early el teachers, and of course, book lovers! I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of this author/artist. Thanks… S.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Perfect for all of us!

  • Posted October 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Hallo, I would like to inform you I ‘ve just listed you for THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD! It’s a way to know each other, among the bloggers. You can find all the infos here: See you soon! Costanza Fabbri

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Fantastic! Love the bear 🙂

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    A bum joke is always impressive.

  • rnewman504
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Wonderful! I’m a tad partial to the bear too.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s that b-u-t-t. Too funny. And I love the porcupine handing him the toilet paper!

  • Paul Thurlby
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    It’s actually a Hedgehog! The US publishers aren’t keen on British animals… so, I sneaked him in there with the bear. I don’t think they noticed!

  • Posted November 5, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Ha! That’s amazing! Thanks for the sneak-peek-Easter-egg — straight from the source!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    This is really neat! I love the facts at the bottom, and his sly wit captured in the illustrations.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Right? Such a cool combo.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I want to (((((HUUUUUUUUG))))))) this book!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Just be careful you don’t get too close to some of those fangs.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Knowing a lot of kids, I imagine that they would almost ALL pick the bear page as their favorite!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Ha! Too hard not to!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I love the simple text and larger than life illustrations! What a find! The bear is my favorite! I have done the same thing with books. Buy them, and they end up hidden in my pile. Sometimes I wait for the right time to share them.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one with piles!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Yet another amazing artist I hadn’t run across before. So many out there. Thanks!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    You’re welcome! Thanks for being here.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, this book looks fantastic! I confess, I haven’t picked it up yet because I was quite disinterested by the cover. Isn’t that awful!?! Me, judging a book by its cover. Shame. But I would be curious what your design and illustration loving heart thinks of that cover. It just doesn’t match the awesomeness of the inside pages in my opinion. I think it is the thick beige border that throws me off. I will for sure give it a try now. Thanks for shaming me into interest!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    No shame! I love this conversation, though. I’m a HUGE cover judger. And I think it’s fair! We judge books by flap copy, or blurbs, or back cover teases, right?! Why shouldn’t we use the cover to inform our thoughts on a book? I do agree that there are about a billion (or, forty) other pictures that might have been more enticing than the current cover. Maybe a tiger is the most wild? I don’t know, but: the goldfish! That elephant! (And I wonder which came first: the cover or the endpapers?!)

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to the moon for letting us know about Paul Thurlby and this book…You are a gem! I’m forwarding to my granddaughter who teaches first grade and has the same sense of humor her writer Grammy has. We’ll both enjoy this book. I “ditto” all the good comments above.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Oh, fun! I hope you all love it!

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Carter, I don’t know where you find these brilliant books. Australian bookshelves are naked of such cleverness and only stock classics and blah…. I better get busy.

  • Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I told you – the massive piles and stacks that grow like mad in my house! But for real: thank you!

  • Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Bear in the toilet? Must be waiting for a call from his agent! LOL. Another clever find, Carter.

  • Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink


  • erin
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I just love your blog, Carter–and you for introducing us to these little gems! The pictures are fabulous, but the addition of facts for each animal put this over the top for me. Love it!

  • Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    You’re so welcome! I’m glad!

  • Posted October 28, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I love it!!! 🙂