Maybe you’ve heard of Brooke Barker. She’s taken Instagram by storm by sharing her cute – but very funny – cartoons of animals. As the title of her second book suggests, the account is called Sad Animal Facts and delivers daily highlights of the strange and wonderful world of animal lives. However, if you look beneath the humour in this book, there is a deeper achievement here.
One of the challenges facing conservationists in a crowded world – particularly online – is to engage audiences young and old with the personal elements of animals. Whilst they need to be kept wild, it also helps to humanise them by adding faces to the name, and emotion to the story.
By combining art, humour, facts and an overload of cuteness, Barker has created an ingenious way of talking to audiences who may not have thought much of the animal kingdom previously.
Whilst it may not have been her intention, this connection of the public and wildlife is a wonderful side-effect of her work.
How does the book unfold?
There are no deep layers to go through in this review. Rather, it is easier to let Barker’s imagery and captions tell the story. This is a book that no one will regret purchasing, and that will entertain people of all ages, all cultures and all wonts.
The introduction is one of the funnier intros to a book that you’ll come across (get a sneak peek in the first two quotes below) and one of the most unexpected but fantastic aspects of the publication is the detailed explanation of all the facts laid out at the back.
It is a gift that keeps on giving. Whilst flicking through it to complete this review, I took it to our family dinner night where we created a game out of it. I highly recommend following our rules: Open to a page at random, read out the ‘Sad Fact’, and let the others guess the species. Simple, silly and super fun. And with Christmas coming up, what better way to make conversation with the relatives go faster?
As far as a Conjour Book Review goes, this one is highly recommended for all.
Five Key Quotes
“The first few years of an animal’s life are almost completely devoid of cookies and instead are a daily adorable fight for survival.”
“And right now, a meerkat mother is crawling silently into a burrow and quickly eating all six of her rival’s children.”
“Dog parents eat their sick children. ‘It’s just allergies, Dad, I promise!'”
“Baby camels don’t have humps. ‘I can’t go out like this.'”
“Young Panamanian Golden frogs protect themselves with toxic skin secretions. ‘Lick me, I dare you.'”