Recent reviews

Einzigartig und faszinierend
— Tabea Grzeszyk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, 25 November 2014

Eine große Liebeserklärung an die Evolution aller Lebewesen
 — FixPoetry 15 November 2014

Hässlich-schöne Natur: Bibel des Grauens
— Hilmar Schmundt in Der Spiegel, 1 November 2014

Original et foisonnant
30 Million d'Amis, 20 October 2014

Ne cherchez pas de cadeau de Noël : ce livre est à offrir à tout le monde, à commencer par soi-même
— Roger-Pol Droit in Le Monde, 15 October 2014

Encyclopédique, écologique, inclassable, un livre que Borges aurait adoré
— Jean-Claude Perrier in Livres Hebdo, 3 October 2014

An unusual and charming book
Richard Carter, April 2014

Funny and wise...ideas as beautifully wild as the animals themselves
— Hugh Warwick, Resurgence, March/April 2014

This extraordinary and exotic book is a hugely important work. Superficially it can be enjoyed as an exposé of the many weird and wonderful creatures we share our planet with. But it is also a profound journey, during which we have opportunities to speculate on the much bigger questions: the origins of life, the purpose of consciousness, the destiny of technology and the prospects for human existence beyond our biosphere.
— Matt Mellen, Positive News, 15 January 2014

— Christopher Hirst, Independent on Sunday, 11 January 2014

[In this] great bestiary...growth, and astonishment, and wonder, and effervescence are wildly reconfigured as kinds of virtue
Robert Macfarlane

A book that beautifully mingles the poetic and the scientific in shimmering prose that yet is packed full of detailed facts (and numbers)
Athene Donald

— Siouxsie Wiles, New Zealand Listener

A prismatic attempt to enlarge how enlarge how we think about animals and ourselves
James Bradley, Books of 2013, The Australian  

A book of big ideas and carefully chosen details...The physical book is as beautiful as the language in which it is written.
— Pamela Toer, Shelf Awareness

Poetic non-fiction...a series of Montaignesque essays that celebrate the diversity of life while at the same time journeying through...human achievements – and [the] threats we make on the planet.
Gavin Francis, The Scotsman Best Books of 2013 

Anyone who has any sense of awe and love for life will love this book, and from both a literary and presentation point of view, it’s a book you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life.
— Steve Earles, Destructive Music

There is something lovely about a book that takes on so many disciplines and tackles them with confidence.
— Alok Jha, The Guardian, 23 November 2013

This extraordinary and exotic book is a hugely important work...a profound journey.
EcoHustler, 13 November 2013

There are no words to describe how beautiful this volume is, or the feelings it evokes. Stunning.
The Booksmith

 Readers spanning the humanities and the sciences will treasure this luminous reimagining of the real.
— Jenny Jennings Foerst, American Scientist, November/December 2013

A glorious celebration of our extraordinary world...exuding wit and charm. — Alice Henchley, 25 October 2013

What stands out on every page is [the author's] tremendous, almost infectious joy...Eloquent as well as encyclopedic, witty and warm, he is the prefect companion for this tour of the strange and the beautiful.
— Louisa Fabiani, Times Literary Supplement, 25 October 2013

A brilliant, beautiful and often profound book.
— James Bradley, Sydney Review of Books, October 2013

Elegance to [the] writing which brings to mind the early wonder-inducing essays by Annie Dillard.
Spirituality and Practice, October 2013

This is not just a beautiful book – it is an important one.
— David Evans, The Independent, October 2013

A lovely cultural history...[the] research is impressively deep.
The Herald, 25 September 2013

Aesthetically pleasing and scientifically intriguing... an inspiring addition to any natural history collection.
— Amy Freeborn, Evolve, Summer 2013

You will see the world differently on closing this book. You will be more amazed. I don’t know what else one should even think of asking for from a book.  — Weston Cutter, Corduroy Books, July 2013

A beautiful work that celebrates Earth’s extraordinary species.
— Stuart Pimm, Summer book recommendations, Nature, July 2013

Compulsively readable, both informative and thought provoking.
— Sadie Stein, Paris Review, 2013

Earlier reviews here