Written by: Anna Clayborne
Illustrated by: Louise McNaught
For ages: any age
Topics Covered: Environmental Activism, Global Community, Animals, Endangered Species, Sustainability, Activism, Natural World.
Summary: This book was sent to us by Running Press, but all opinions are our own!
This book is really interesting in that the book’s Artist (Louise McNaught) is featured before the book begins. Next, there is a foreword from Tusk, a charity organization that champions for endangered wildlife.
This book is stunning. Twenty endangered animals are featured in this large coffee table sized book. On one side of the page is a huge portrait of the animal, painted by McNaught. The opposite side of the page has geographical information about the animals, as well as two paragraphs about the animal.
The animal portraits are beautiful, and have unique upward-drips of paint creating a stunning artistic effect. The information about the animals is easy to understand, and the setup of the book allows for random pages to be read during a perusal of pages rather than requiring a strict beginning to end read. Colorful backgrounds and painted maps are very enticing to a wide variety of ages. What is most important however, is the message behind the book. We live in a world where climate change is very real, and it threatens the existence of all species living on our planet. This book also includes information about the history of animal conservation, and what the average person can do to assist in alleviating this growing crisis. This is an amazingly beautiful book, with an even more beautiful message behind it.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Louise McNaught completed her Fine Art Degree BSc (Hons) in 2012 at the University of Greenwich, and she has continued to work as a professional artist ever since, with international representation. She also became a published Author in 2018. Her artwork has also been featured in art fairs in Milan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Stockholm, Brussels and all over the UK.
Louise‘s creations feature nature and animals, where the animals are God-like, sublime and ethereal in their presence and depiction. McNaught’s work is motivated by emotive and spiritual experiences which has manifested in a mixed-media approach. Her soft style suggests a delicate relationship between nature and ourselves, making a clear point about man’s destruction of nature – which flutters jewel-like in the balance. When focusing on endangered species the imagery often takes on a duality of not only what is happening to the animal itself, but also reflects how we feel psychologically about the effect the human race is having on these species. Her focus on endangered species has manifested in a book called ‘Survival‘, which Louise created with worldwide publishers Big Picture Press in September 2018. The idea came from the Solo Show Louise was doing with George Thornton Gallery in 2016, also called ‘Survival’. The book shows 20 endangered animals painted by McNaught, with facts about the animals plight and conservation efforts. ‘Survival‘ is sponsored by the well-known charity Tusk.org with proceeds of the book going toward helping their cause.
Anna Claybourne is the author of numerous books on the natural world for younger readers, including the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of Planet Earth, Cheetah: Natural World Series, the Survival Skills Handbook, and many more.
She started her career at Usborne Publishing in 1993 as a trainee staff writer, and became a self-employed freelance writer and editor three years later. She writes on almost any subject but specializes in science and nature, and has written many children’s books on wild animals (especially predators), volcanoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Her interest in these topics made researching and writing 100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet a particularly fascinating experience. Anna has traveled widely and in 2002, she experienced the eruption of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica at first hand, as well as seeing some of the animals mentioned in the book.
Anna grew up in Yorkshire and studied English Literature at Oxford University and in Toronto, Canada. She began an academic career studying Anglo-Saxon literature and considered earning a PhD on the old English monster poem Beowulf, but chose to continue writing instead.
Anna currently lives in Edinburgh, with her partner and three-year-old son. Her hobbies include creative writing, sewing, and playing the trombone in a soul band.