Extinctopedia: Discover What We Have Lost, What Is at Risk, and How We Can Preserve the Diversity of Our Fragile Planet

With a cautionary yet hopeful tone, the superbly illustrated informational picture book Extinctopedia offers environmentally minded middle-grade readers a survey of "what we have lost, what is at risk, and how we can preserve the diversity of our fragile planet." Originally written in Italian by Serenella Quarello and translated to English by Margaret Greenan, this generously sized picture book presents creatures whose habitats span the globe. Animals range from those that are likely familiar to a U.S. reader, such as the monarch butterfly, to those that may seem fairly obscure, like the imperiled, blob-like Western Ghats purple frog.

Approachable text features explanatory paragraphs for every animal that are suitable for advanced, curious readers; the species names and sophisticated scientific terminology are also included, some of which are underlined and appear in a glossary. Alessio Alcini's marvelously detailed accompanying artwork shifts from grayscale to softly colored as the text transitions from extinct to threatened animals. The clarity and precision of Alcini's illustrations are reminiscent of Brian Selznick's work and invite readers to peruse the artwork independently of Quarello's informative text. Quarello does not sugarcoat the role of humans in contributing to creatures' risk and demise, but she leaves readers on an optimistic note with sections about animal protection, new discoveries, and tips for advocacy and sustainability. Backmatter also includes an index.

This informative and visually engaging guide serves as a reminder to take care of our planet and its animal population lest we "lose small yet significant forms of diversity and beauty." --Kit Ballenger, youth librarian, Help Your Shelf

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