Unusual Creatures

by Michael Hearst

Unusual Creatures is a field guide to some of Earth's most bizarre and fascinating critters: a frog with a transparent belly, an animal that poops cubes, or a seal that sounds like laser beams being fired.

Meet animals such as the aye-aye, the blobfish, and the yeti crab. Each creature comes with a distribution map, scientific trivia, and a list of its biological classifications. But it isn't all Latin names and zoologist lingo. Author Michael Hearst keeps the tone exciting and entertaining, often times breaking into a goofy poem, or throwing in a quirky true or false quiz.

On a more serious note, Unusual Creatures sheds light on the impact humans have played in the endangerment of these amazing animals, offering suggestions about using less stuff, less water, and less energy in our lives.

Hearst, an accomplished composer (creator of the solo work Songs for Ice Cream Trucks) also celebrates these weird creatures in a companion album to the book, Songs for Unusual Creatures, instrumental tributes composed with some of the world's most unusual instruments, and featuring collaborations with Kronos Quartet, Margatet Leng Tan, and The Microscopic Septet.

Although it won't be available until September, you can preview the album or pre-order a copy of the book on his website.

Find it: Unusual Creatures by Michael Hearst (Chronicle Books, 2012)

(Images: Ben Partridge)

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