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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

Unnatural Selections Read-Along

by (artist) Wallace Edwards

read by Matthew Posner

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
Imagination & Play, General, Art & Architecture
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


Beloved illustrator Wallace Edwards invites us into the world of Professor I.B. Doodling, a traveling artist who takes suggestions from schoolchildren in order to create fantastical hybrid animals. The result of these visits is Unnatural Selections, a collection of magnificent beasts, from the stately Whalephant to the talented Lizabouboon. Sure to inspire the imagination, Wallace Edwards’s intricate illustrations invite you to pore over them again and again. A supplementary index lists additional creatures to spot throughout the book’s pages, encouraging readers to go back for a second, and a third, look.

About the authors


WALLACE EDWARDS, diplômé de l’Université de l’École d’art et de design de l’Ontario, est un auteur-illustrateur primé. Ses peintures et ses illustrations se retrouvent dans des collections privées et publiques, des livres, des magazines et des expositions au Canada et aux États-Unis. Son premier livre jeunesse, Alphabeasts, a remporté le Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général en 2002. Depuis, il continue à recevoir des nominations et des récompenses prestigieuses soulignant son approche géniale des albums illustrés. Il habite à Yarker, en Ontario.



WALLACE EDWARDS is a graduate of OCA whose picture books have been nominated for three Governor General's Literary Awards; he won the award for Alphabeasts. Other honours include the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, two Independent Publisher Book Awards, a Canadian Toy Testing Council Great Book Award, a CLA Honour Book and two OLA Best Bets, among many others; and his work has also been added to the International Youth Library White Ravens list.


Wallace Edwards' profile page

Matthew Posner is a voice actor who has narrated two titles from Orca's Seven series.

Matthew Posner's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets

Editorial Reviews

[Starred review] "Hold onto your hat, Mr. Darwin, there are several new species in town—and their origins are curious...Each hybridized animal introduced by Professor I.B. Doodling...comes from the delightful recesses of Wallace Edwards' imagination. The author-illustrator has produced yet another fantastical picturebook guaranteed to ignite creative sparks in readers of all ages...Edwards creates richly layered scenes bursting with multiple components...Hours can be spent poring over every inch of every page, unearthing elements previously unnoticed...Edwards greatest triumph is his ability to encourage us all to discover the strange and wonderful beasts that already dwell in our own imaginations."

Quill & Quire

"Professor I. B. Doodling, a traveling artist, presents beasts mixed and matched from the imaginations of children. These hybrid animals are stunningly illustrated with an accompanying verse describing them. Imagined creatures...are portrayed with a whimsical blending of attributes."

School Library Journal

"The pages are full of eye-popping detail, but the fantastical and unexpected are grounded in an obvious knowledge of real flora and fauna described in meticulous watercolour and pencil technique. The brisk text rings of Ogden Nash’s playful rhymes...[A book] to be examined spread by spread for all its detail and visual jokes."

CM Magazine

"A wonderful new book that equals the humour and lush illustrations of his previous success...Each of the detailed, brilliantly hewed illustrations has other wondrous and absurd animals displayed along with the main creature. At the end of the book there is a list which identifies the extra eighteen fabulous animals hidden in plain sight on the pages. Readers are encouraged to go back and search for the new animals and are provided with a feast of visual delights to look upon again and again...Fun for all ages. Highly recommended!"

Resource Links

"Elegant illustrations and nonsensical poems about everything from the "Whalephant" ("Everyone who gets to see him, secretly would like to be him") to the "Leofroat" (a mashup of leopard, frog and goat). The book encourages children to spot and identify the different animals in the pictures."

Facepuller blog

"A gallery of chimerical critters that Darwin himself would be hard put to justify. Edwards catches the exuberant 'Whalephant' in midbreach, water streaming from its flapping ears...With these and other lovingly detailed portmanteau creations, Edwards (Mixed Beasts, 2005) takes nature past its outer limits to hilarious effect...An imaginary zoo that will set readers to chortling."

Kirkus Reviews

"A magnificently curious compendium of creatures...Edwards’ sophisticated watercolour and coloured pencil paintings are full of intricate details and exotic habitats...Inventive, preposterous, and fun. Children will undoubtedly be inspired to create their own zoological concoctions."

National Reading Campaign blog

"Edwards presents a delightful collection of fantastical creatures that can only be created in the imagination: the Whalephant, the carpantelope, the frogtopus, and many more. Captivating, rich illustrations with hidden pictures and bonus creatures will keep viewers looking and imagining. A book for encouraging imagination and creativity, this can be used as a jumping off point to see what animals children could come up with and discussions on whether their selections could be 'natural' or 'unnatural'—or if their creature could even survive in the wild."

Library Media Connection

Other titles by Wallace Edwards

Other titles by Matthew Posner