Cover image for Lovely beasts : the surprising truth
Lovely beasts : the surprising truth

Surprising truth
Lovely beasts : the surprising truth
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
The author lists several animals that many people would consider scary (sharks), ugly (bats), or creepy (spiders) then explains how they benefit their biological niche, and humans!
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
J ANIM 1 590 GARD New or Popular Picture Book

On Order



A stunning debut picture book that encourages kids to look beyond first impressions by sharing unexpected details about seemingly scary wild animals like gorillas, rhinoceroses, and more.

Spiders are creepy. Porcupines are scary. Bats are ugly. Or are they...?

This captivating book invites you to learn more about awe-inspiring animals in the wild. After all, it's best not to judge a beast until you understand its full, lovely life.

Includes backmatter with additional reading suggestions.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gardner thoughtfully urges readers to look beyond animals' most apparent traits. Porcupines are "prickly," sure; however, they are also peaceful loners, "shy herbivores who eat leaves, flower blossoms, and berries." Working in muted grays and greens and with fine-grained charcoal pencil lines, Smith shows two sides to each "beast." While bats might be viewed as "ugly," they are also helpful "caretakers," Gardner explains: "Many bats play an important role in the environment by controlling insect populations, eating as many as eight thousand mosquitoes a night." Sharks have sharp teeth, but they are also guardians of the ecosystem. With cogent word choices, Gardner gently urges readers to see beyond first assumptions and to celebrate the wonder of biodiversity. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

First impressions can be tough, as many of these less-loved, often-feared creatures from the animal kingdom can attest. Through Smith's lovely, detailed charcoal-pencil drawings, this book offers up two portraits of each critter. The first, in black-and-white, is an ominous close-up opposite a single word: a scowling gorilla is fierce; a snarling pack of wolves are fanged; a swooping bat is ugly. A turn of the page offers a second portrait, this time in muted colors, showing another side. The gorilla becomes papa, and a brief paragraph explains how these primates are gentle, nurturing parents. Likewise, the wolves, who have sophisticated social structures, are friends, while the environmentally significant bat is a caretaker. Unfortunately, the environment is changing so quickly that the facts in this book won't be accurate for long Regardless, this is a beautifully drawn, cleverly conceptualized resource that will do much for the reputations of some of our more maligned animals.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2018 Booklist