Kids will love this spectacular illustrated book.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the challenging vocabulary is well supported by vivid artwork. Young children will be eager to point out letters they recognize and to hunt for hidden objects.

What's the story?

Amazing animals act out alliterative actions on each busy page in this groundbreaking alphabet zoo. Some, like horrible hairy hogs, mimic humans; others, like lions lounging in a library, are out of their element. ANIMALIA takes readers on a leisurely march through the alphabet--leisurely, because it's improbable that anyone will hurry through this spectacular oversized illustrated book.


Is it any good?


This book succeeds on several levels. First, it is an alphabet book that will sustain interest and guarantee frequent return visits. Second, it celebrates the richness of the English language, introducing vivid, vigorous verbs amid abundant adjectives and adverbs and nimble, notable nouns. Third, it further encourages language development by peppering background landscapes with loads of objects, inviting children to stab their fingers at the page and triumphantly call out each object's name.

Sesame Street long ago changed the process by which previously prim alphabet primers were packaged, but nothing prepared parents and pedagogues for the phantasmagorical pictures in Graeme Base's ANIMALIA. Creatures bask, cavort, devour, frolic, juggle, monitor, navigate, preen, queue (the author is British), slither, vocalize, yodel, and zigzag.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about letter sounds. After hunting for hidden objects in the book, trying hunting for objects in your home, at the park, or while riding in the car or on the bus.

Book details

Author:Graeme Base
Illustrator:Graeme Base
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1986
Number of pages:32

This review of Animalia was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 7, 2009

No plot!

The art is wonderful and intricate, and kids will most likely love it (I did) but the "no plot" thing is annoying. Not very filling.
Parent of a 5 year old Written byLittle Wing September 17, 2009

Perfect for any child who can read

This book is wonderful way for children to practice their reading skills at a young age. The illustrations are beautiful and just looking through the book without reading anything is just as entertaining. (Even more!) I recommend this book for any child.
What other families should know
Educational value


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide