I stumbled upon this book recently and was immediately transported back to my childhood. The Eleventh Hour and Animalia were two of my favourite books when I was young. I was so impressed with The Eleventh Hour that I didn’t open the special pouch at the back of the book containing the solution to the mystery for YEARS, and when I did it was a most solemn occasion.
The Waterhole was completely off my radar until now, but it’s a lovely book. Each spread features animals in a different country, region, or environment gathering around a waterhole. As you turn the pages, the waterhole shrinks, to the despair of the animals. This is brilliantly achieved by the use of a die cut within the book — as you turn the pages, the size of the die cut (and thus the waterhole) shrinks.
In addition to the animals gathered around the water source, each spread has a list of animals to find in the illustration, in true Base fashion. All the animals you’re looking for are native to the region currently featured in the spread. Not to ruin it for everyone, but when the water runs out the animals you’re looking for are all extinct. What a great way to teach children about the environment, different ecosystems and animals, as well as making them aware of the animal heritage we have lost.
Not to mention that Base’s illustrations are lovely, as always.
I’m torn about this book. When I finished it, I decided it was enjoyable overall. But, while I was reading it, I had a hard time getting into it without getting distracted by how awkward the writing seemed in places. I’d describe as a mix between Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl, though not nearly as great as those two authors.
That being said, I appreciate the book as a whole, and the attention the author paid to the overall package (including illustrating the chapter openers). Also, here’s a look at the evolution of the cover design, from designer Chad W. Beckerman. Overall, I’m looking forward to reading Auxier’s next book (if there is one) to see how he evolves.
Just as fun as I remember it being.
My favourite Roald Dahl book (although Matilda and The BFG are very close seconds). I can’t remember if I read the book first, or saw the movie. In any case, I love both and Anjelica Huston will always be the Grand High Witch to me.