The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Talya Baldwin | #bookreview | @FaberBooks

A gloriously illustrated and fascinating bestiary of the world’s most extraordinary endangered animals – a treasure trove of vanishing wonders.

The world is more astonishing, more miraculous and more wonderful than our wildest imaginings.

In this passionately persuasive and sharply funny book, Katherine Rundell tells us how and why.

A swift flies two million kilometres in its lifetime. That’s far enough to get to the moon and back twice over – and then once more to the moon. A pangolin keeps its tongue furled in a pouch by its hip, a Greenland shark can live five hundred years, a wombat once inspired a love poem.

My Thoughts

First of all, I have to say what a stunning book this is. The photo above really doesn’t do it justice. What looks like black lines on the dust cover are in fact in gold foil as is the wee mole in the middle. The pages edges are shimmery gold too. It’s got a sturdy hardback cover and the pages inside are excellent quality. Talya Baldwin’s illustrations which accompany each chapter are intricate and beautiful. The Golden Mole would make a great present for any nature lover, if you are already looking at your Christmas reading list.

The writing inside is compelling, poetic and imaginative. The author includes what might be considered fairly ordinary animals as her subjects such as the seal, the spider, the bat, the hare and the crow. Also included are more unusual creatures such as the narwhal, the pangolin and the Greenland shark as well as the eponymous golden mole. Even that rather clever yet destructive creature, the human, gets a chapter!

Ordinary or not, what we read about is quite extraordinary. To mention just a few facts, did you know that hedgehogs have existed for more than fifteen million years and that they were once believed to carry fruit on their prickles to hoard for winter? Did you know that an elephant’s trunk has around 40,000 muscles compared with humans’ mere 650 in our whole bodies? Did you know that bats have been included in invisibility potions for hundreds of years in every continents?

The Golden Mole is engaging, enlightening and important. It reminds us of the incredible living treasures we risk losing as a result of climate change. Every creature included in the book is endangered, frequently because of damage done to the world’s eco-system by humankind. It is in some ways rather a sobering read and yet at the same time is witty and wise.

My thanks to Mollie at Faber Books for sending me a copy of this beautiful book for review. It is available in kindle and audiobook formats but I highly recommend the hardback edition

About the Author

Katherine Rundell is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her bestselling books for children have been translated into more than thirty languages and have won multiple awards. Rundell is also the author of a book for adults, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise, and writes occasionally for the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Times

2 thoughts on “The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Talya Baldwin | #bookreview | @FaberBooks

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