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Book Review: Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker

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Title: Sad Animal Facts (2016)
Author: Brooke Barker
Genre: Natural History, Non-fiction, Nature, Facts, Picture Book, Comedy and Cartoon
Publisher: Boxtree
Release Date: 6th September 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: David


A delightful and quirky compendium of the Animal Kingdom’s more unfortunate truths, with over 150 hand-drawn illustrations.

Ever wonder what a mayfly thinks of its one-day lifespan? (They’re curious what a sunset is.) Or how a jellyfish feels about not having a heart? (Sorry, but they’re not sorry.)


This book is essentially a compendium of fascinating (and often sad) facts about a wide range of species in the animal kingdom, accompanied by charming and humorous illustrations of the animals in question.

My girlfriend Lois gave me this book, as a Christmas present this year. By the end of Boxing Day I had read the whole thing from front to back and was annoying my family with the facts I had learned from reading this fascinating book. Barker has done an excellent job of collecting some brilliant facts, the majority of which I had never heard before, even though I am somewhat of a nature geek who binges on David Attenborough.

Barker has divided this book into logical groupings of animals by class such as mammals and reptiles, so that you can either read this book from start to finish or, if you choose, simply dip in and out and find your favourite animals. The short and snappy facts make this an entertaining book for anyone with a short attention span, but for anyone who wants a more in depth discussion of the facts, there is a very interesting appendix which gives extra details and explains the facts in depth for any enquiring minds.

Lastly it would be impossible to discuss this book without mentioning the artwork, humour and obvious love Barker has put into it. Barker’s artworks illustrating these facts are very distinctive and endearing, and never failed to put a smile on my face. She even makes the rather unattractive blob fish seem cute! Furthermore her captions on the illustrations were often very humorous and gave me a good chuckle. For instance the fact “Crows never forget a face.” is captioned with “I wish I could.” I had a good laugh at that one! It is evident that Barker has really taken her time and care with the over 150 facts and illustrations that she has lovingly put together.

The only criticism I have of this book is that, being a nerd, I would have enjoyed a bigger appendix section to go into even greater detail about the species mentioned in this book. However this book is still fascinating and entertaining to read.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this compendium of facts, looking at the brilliant illustrations and laughing at the witty captions. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in nature, and even those who don’t as this book is very accessible and could be the introduction you need to get you hooked.

This book is a bit of departure from the usual fiction books we normally review on this blog; however as someone with a keen interest in science (particularly biology) I think reviews of books like these could become more of a regular feature, if there is an interest in them. Please feel free to comment below if you would like to see more reviews of this genre. Thanks!

Be sure to check it out on Book Depository using the link here: Loisreadsbooks Book Depository

Find us on Twitter @Loisreadsbooks, on Facebook here, and on Goodreads here

Until next time,


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