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Curious Critters Book Review

Curious Critters is a book created by photographer David FitzSimmons, who uses his camera to capture stunning images of everyday animals, including a red flat bark beetle, an Eastern spiny softshell turtle, a spotted salamander, and many other intriguing creatures. The book is beautiful with the animal’s colors, textures and details standing out against the white backdrop giving it precision and clarity.  Each photo offers an entertaining and educational vignette told from the perspective of the animal photographed.

curious critter book review

My son, who loves all things CURIOUS and who also loves all things Critter, dove into this book with the enthusiasm of the Southern Flying Squirrel.  After oohing and ahhing at the cool and the weird, we settled in for a more detailed inspection of this clever book.  The eye-catching photographs of the animals captured his attention immediately.  The animals were all photographed on a white background and take up most of the space on the large 8 X 11 page.  Big Boy loved seeing all of the fur, the claws, the textures, the shapes, and the expressions of these animals.  He especially liked the Jumping Spider with his many eyes and hairy legs!

However, it was more than the photographs that caught my attention; the playful prose was absolutely delightful.  David Fitzsimmons took the time to INTERVIEW each of the Curious Critters that he photographed. While Big Boy thought this was just a fun reading session, he was actually learning about these animals, their habitats, their habits, and some fun facts – all from the Critters’ perspective!   Fitzsimmons said, “Writing Curious Critters was a lot of fun! And it was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. You see, I didn’t really have to do a thing. The animals told me what to write.”

curious critters

His unique first-person point-of-view gives the book a fun feel while still maintaining all of the educational material that I desire as a parent in a non-fiction book.  And, actually, FitzSimmons said this book was one of the most difficult books he has written.  He found inspiration for the Critters’ responses from many people including one of my favorite poets TS Elliot, FitzSimmon’s wife Olivia, and graphic novelist, Jay Hosler.  FitzSimmons wanted to make the book fun, but with enough educational material that it could be used in a science classroom.  My favorite Critter was the Southern Flying Squirrel who can’t seem to talk in complete sentences.  The Southern Flying Squirrel reminds me of me with too much coffee! Even my Ballerina got interested in the book.  Her favorite animal was the Bush Katydid because (why else?) it’s PINK!  She liked the fact that its color was a deterrent for predators.

More than a fun reading session, children are actually learning about these animals, their habitats, their habits, and some fun facts – all from the Critters’ perspective! If your child is interested in learning more about the critters in the book, Fitzsimmons has included a Curious Critters: Natural History layout in the back that gives more scientific details about each of the Critters in the book.  There is also a Curious Critters Life-Size Silhouettes grouping where children can identify the Critters that they have just learned about, group the Critters according to species, and spot differences between the silhouettes and the photographs.

This book would make an excellent gift for a child who is an animal lover, a teacher, or a photography buff.

If you would like more information about Curious Critters, David FitzSimmons, the photography techniques he used in the book or the science standards associated with the book, check out the Curious Critters website at

Visit David at:


Lauralee Saad loves homeschooling her three kiddos: Ballerina, age 8, Big Boy, age 6, and MESS, age 3.  She enjoys sewing when she can find a spare corner to set up her machine and dig out fabrics, cooking and baking – especially if the kiddos are helping, and enjoying a good book after the kiddos have gone to bed.  She is thrilled to be welcoming a baby girl into the family in March of 2012.

*I received a copy of Curious Critters in order to facilitate an honest review. The opinions,  expressed are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experiences may vary.

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