Review: Animania by Corrina Holyoake

A is for Antosaurus

animaniaTo little kids, the alphabet is a bit of magic, a mix of fairy dust and candy canes. We forget the great moment of exhilaration when as a young reader we first recognize a letter. Any letter.

It’s that sense of magic and exhilaration, that moment of first discovery, that author and illustrator Corrina Holyoake successfully brings out in her fun and wacky alphabet book, Animania. Stitching together a host of fun and endearing characters, Animania leads us on small adventures into a world where imagination matters (and matters most), more than the pigeon holes and the fixed boundaries of a reality we sometimes believe we inhabit.

In Animania, “A” is no longer for “apple” but for “Antosaurus”, a cross it appears between an ant and a dinosaur, “big and strong” with “spikey horns and claws so long”. Each letter of the alphabet is home to a wonderfully wacky character and accompanied by a short rhyme that tells us a little about its goings on. Two small white mice travel with us through the pages as we discover new friends of uncertain pedigree. We are mesmerized by the colors and tantalized by the wonders that greet us from page to page.

MINIPHANT600Each person must have a favorite letter or letters in Animania. My favorite is the letter “M” for “Miniphant”, a miniature elephant with delicate insect wings whose job it is to go about with its tiny trunk to water the flowers and to give “the bees their weekly showers.” What a brilliant pairing of what kids often think of as the enormous, unwieldy power of an elephant with the primness of an insect (or perhaps garden fairy) going about its duties! It is when Corrina Holyoake brilliantly balances these odd juxtapositions into new and endearing creations that the book really shines and makes us laugh and chuckle inside and perhaps wish we too could be the bee taking its weekly showers under the trunk of the Miniphant.

This is a lovely and funny book to share with a young child. I read this with my four-year-old and she was alternately between chuckles, chortles and laughs from page to page and ran to ask her mother to look at the picture after each page. It made my older son smile too to see some of the illustrations and hear the rhymes. Of course, nine-year-olds will laugh at any mention of “boogers” and there is, as you will now know, a “Booger Bat” as well among the denizens of Animania.

The illustrations in Animania are simply spectacular and the rhymes echo that element of whimsy in the book’s design. If you believe in fun in learning and that nonsense and color in a world full of grey matters and would not be put off by Fluffafish (cuddly underwater teddy bears with bird wings and fish tail), this is the alphabet book for you (and your child). Fun. Imaginative. Daring. Animania is a triumph in alphabetic composition.

{In addition to having purchased a copy, we received a digital version of the book for our honest review.}

inskpokeselect2-creatures2This book has received the Inkspokes Select Books award.

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animaniaCorrina Holyoake’s Animania is available as a eBook and in print via Amazon UK (Print | eBook) and Amazon U.S (Print | eBook). More information may be found at the Animania Facebook Page.


  3 comments for “Review: Animania by Corrina Holyoake

  1. August 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Thanks so much for the fantastic review, and give a big thanks to the kids for me too for their feedback. I really appreciate all you do for the indie authors out there.

  2. August 4, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Corrina’s has written and illustrated a charming alphabet book with attitude! I love her funky rhymes and fanciful art that pops with color. The five-year old in my life is enchanted with “Animania.”

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