Synopses & Reviews
Fast on the heels of the New York Times
bestseller The Book of General Ignorance
comes The Book of Animal Ignorance
, a fun, fact-ﬁlled bestiary that is sure to delight animal lovers everywhere. Arranged alphabetically from aardvark to worm, here are one hundred of the most interesting members of the animal kingdom explained, dissected, and illustrated, with the trademark wit and wisdom of John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.
Did you know, for instance, that
• when a young albatross takes wing, it may stay aloft for ten years
• vampire bat saliva—unsurprisingly, when you think about it—is the source of the worlds most powerful blood thinning drug, appropriately called draculin
• bombardier beetles fire a boiling chemical spray out of their rears at 300 pulses per second
• a bald eagles feathers weigh twice as much as its bones
• a giant tortoise recently died at the documented age of 255
• octopuses are dexterous enough to unscrew tops from jars
• spider silk is so light that a strand long enough to circle the world would weigh as much as a bar of soap?
So meet the water bears that can live in suspension for hundreds of years, the parasite carried by your cat that makes men grumpy and women promiscuous, and the woodlouse that drinks through its bottom. Marvel at elephants that walk on tiptoe, pigs that shine in the dark, and woodpeckers that have ears on the ends of their tongues.
If you still think a pangolin is a musical instrument, that hyenas are dogs, or that sheep are pointless and stupid, The Book of Animal Ignorance has arrived just in time.
"Lloyd and Mitchinson, the respective creator and chief researcher of the British quiz show, Q!, present an alphabetical series of short, hammy articles concerning 100 animals, Aardvark to Gibbon to Pig to Worm. The profiles are written with a snappy ready-for-TV comic style, with a great deal of adolescent elbow-ribbing over sexual appendages and defecation-much of it bizarre and/or repugnant (to humans). One of the better essays describes how a pearl really forms inside an oyster; another looks at pangolins, scale-covered mammals related to dogs. Perhaps most interesting are the clever mechanical drawings by Ted Dewan that illustrate the multiflex wrists of gibbons and diagram the Fossa, a 'dog-cat-mongoose that lives in a tree.' Bomb-like dinner party conversation-starters lie in the physiological and ecological arcana the authors compile; eventually, however, one tires of the inevitable parade of strange, contorted and gruesome descriptions of animal mating. Adults will only be able to stand a few at a time, and excess of sexual description limits the use of the book by younger kids, but should get teenagers and student animal lovers giggling while they learn." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Several years ago Lloyd and Mitchinson entertained readers with The Book of General Ignorance
. Now they are back with this fun overview of the animal world. Unlike many factoid-ish general overviews, The Book of Animal Ignorance
isn't dumbed down for beginners. Scientific names are almost always given in addition to common names, and interesting etymologies are commonly provided. I have a master's degree in zoology, and I learned quite a few new things." Doug Brown, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
About the Author
JOHN LLOYD is the producer of the hit British comedy shows Not the Nine OClock News, Blackadder, and Spitting Image. He earned a lifetime achievement award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
JOHN MITCHINSON is a former publisher and bookseller who now writes for the British television show QI (Quite Interesting).