Thursday, September 13, 2018

Shrinking Violets Need Not Apply! Look at Me! Wild Animal Show-Offs by Jim Arnovsky

Why are wild animals so stunningly beautiful?

What is the purpose of their showy displays and bold markings?

Why would certain creatures evolve arresting shapes, colors, and markings that make them stand out in a crowd? Mother Nature has her reasons.

Some, like the frilled lizard, the cobra, and the pufferfish make themselves look bigger and more intimidating to fend off potential predators. For some species, like the poison dart frog or the spotted scorpionfish, bright colors signal their wearers' warning--"Can't Touch This!"

But the most gorgeous, amazing, and breathtakingly spectacular displays are reserved for that special duty--reproduction. From the peacock's gloriously marked and colored tail feathers and the wild turkey's grand and imposing fantail, it's all about the survival of the fittest--or at least the fanciest--one of all. Deer, elk, and moose reveal their imposing racks in the fall. Even the modest little ruby-throated hummingbird can flash a color that says "Notice ME!" Animals that normally come in colors that blend right in with their chosen habitat can suddenly appear in gaudy full-dress colors for those "puttin' on the ritz" occasions in spring. Birds are superb at that, with the almost unlimited ability to grow flamboyant feathers with resplendent shapes, patterns, and hues, when they "promenade" for their annual prom.

In his forthcoming Look at Me!: Wild Animal Show-Offs (Sterling Books, 2018), the award-winning wildlife author-illustrator, Jim Arnovsky has created a nonfiction book with large and impressive illustrations, some shown in elegantly-designed fold-out pages, to show off a variety of nature's opulent powers of display, from the elk's extravagant antlers to the lacy filigree of the great egret's plumage, Arnovsky's unparalleled paintings delight readers and inspire interest in the science and art of nature's variety.

And for those more modest animals, whose motto is "Nothing to see here. Move along," Arnovsky's companion book to this latest is his Hidden Wildlife: How Animals Hide in Plain Sight.(Sterling Books, 2017)

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