Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction General

Amazing Animals

The Remarkable Things That Creatures Do

by (author) Margriet Ruurs

illustrated by W. Allan Hancock

Initial publish date
Mar 2011
General, Zoology, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4


Did you know that the oldest insect lived more than 350 million years ago? That’s more than 100 million years before the dinosaurs! Did you know that a slug has three noses, an octopus has three hearts, and that an earthworm has no eyes, no nose, no ears, and no lungs, but it has five hearts?

By compiling facts that astound her and whet her own curiosity, Margriet Ruurs encourages young readers to observe the natural world around them and to share her sense of wonder and respect for it.

With stunning art and bright, brief text, Amazing Animals is a perfect introduction to a host of creatures – many of them endangered. Margriet Ruurs’ books, including A Mountain Alphabet, When We Go Camping, and In My Backyard are always irresistible invitations to marvel at the animals with which we share the world.

About the authors

Margriet Ruurs is the award-winning author of forty books for children. Passionate about literacy, she writes children's and educational materials and conducts author visits and writing workshops at international schools around the world. Her picture book biography A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison won the Canadian Children’s Literature Roundtables Information Book Award and the Crystal Kite Award, and was nominated for several others. Born in the Netherlands, Margriet raised her family in the Yukon, Canada. Today, when she isn't travelling, she runs a booklover's bed and breakfast on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.


Margriet Ruurs' profile page

W. Allan Hancock's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“…beautifully rendered acrylic paintings…. It is an eclectic collection … it’s a good fit for those young nonfiction readers who enjoy absorbing bizarre facts.”

“…the detailed paintings and surprising details should captivate readers for whom an ideal Saturday would be spent touring a natural history museum.”
—Publishers Weekly

“An attractive compendium of critter facts, accompanied by…stellar acrylic paintings…. This book has great eye appeal for young browsers, and the olio of factoids may prompt further investigations by curious kids.”
—School Library Journal

“… A necessary library purchase, this is also sure to find a home on budding artists’ and young naturalists’ bookshelves.”
– Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“A dreamy, poetic text and rich, detailed paintings celebrates the pure wilderness….”
School Library Journal
“Exceptionally lifelike wildlife paintings will draw young nature lovers to this attractive book… [A] high-quality book well worth purchasing.”

Librarian Reviews

Amazing Animals: The Remarkable Things That Creatures Do

Nature-lover Margriet Ruurs wants to satisfy a young reader’s curiosity about the animal world and encourage children to protect wild animals. Her new picture book, with paintings by nature artist, W. Allan Hancock, introduces us to a wide variety of animals — mammals, birds, insects, fish — who exhibit amazing characteristics. She groups the animals into categories, such as reproduction, communication, migration, diet and defense. For each category, there is a short definition, then descriptions and illustrations of several different animals. There are certainly some amazing animals. Some we know — like the beaver, a natural engineer and architect, and the emperor penguin, whose male hatches the eggs. She also includes some very unusual creatures that may be less familiar to children, like the weaver bird with its intricate nest and red-sided garter snakes of Manitoba who hibernate in communal pits.

Artist W. Allen Hancock supports conservation projects across Canada with his nature art. His paintings here are acrylic on masonite, painted in muted tones with occasional bursts of colour. While they will not grab the reader in the way that bright colour photography does, they are definitely worth a second look. In some pictures, we can see the intricate details of an animal; others have a softer and less realistic feeling while still being informative. The animal faces, in particular, are quite expressive and draw us into the paintings. It’s an attractive and sometimes contemplative book that is a good start to learning about some of the more unique wild animals in our world.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.

Amazing Animals: The Remarkable Things That Creatures Do

By compiling facts that astound her and whet her own curiosity, Margriet Ruurs encourages young readers to observe the natural world around them and to share her sense of wonder and respect for it. She discusses fascinating facts about animals’ physical features, offspring, means of communication, homes, migration, navigation, diets and defense. Stunning artwork adds to the enticing nature of this book.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

Other titles by Margriet Ruurs