The Columbus Dispatch's Nancy Gilson has two animal-centric books for you to try this January!
Out of Sight (Chronicle, 16 pages, $19.99, all ages) by Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
Stuff you might not know about animals:
• Elephants can go up stairs but not down. • A group of lions is a pride, but a group of tigers is an ambush. • When it's happy, a rabbit grinds its teeth softly; the sound is like purring. • Pigs are good swimmers.
These nuggets and more are found in the large picture book Out of Sight by a pair of children's-book creators from Brussels: Francesco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais.
Flaps of various sizes hide images of animals -- which explains the title. Pictured on the flaps are black-and-white silhouettes of animal parts (a camel's hump or a deer's antlers), footprints, patterns of fur or simply black paper that hides most of the creature. Lift the flap and see the animal either in a flat painting or a 3-D pop-up.
Each image is accompanied by brief, surprising facts:
• Pandas usually give birth to twins. • A rhinoceros horn is made of hair. • A lion roars but doesn't purr.
Older children can play a guessing game before they lift the flaps. All ages, including adults, should find plenty to enjoy in the inventive book.
The Rabbit Problem (Simon & Schuster, 32 pages, $17.99, all ages) by Emily Gravett
Rabbits multiply -- not just like coat hangers in the closet but according to a formula worked out by 13th-century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci.
In her dense and amusing picture book, Emily Gravett has great fun with bunny proliferation and names her picture book what Fibonacci called his theory: The Rabbit Problem.
Structured like a monthly calendar, the book has a hole punched through the cover and every page so that it can hang on a nail.
January shows just one lonely rabbit, with a friendly-looking second one peeking through a tear in the page. By May, 10 rabbits are starting to feel crowded in Fibonacci's Field, where a sign reads: "No rabbits may leave the field."
By November, a double page is filled with wall-to-wall rabbits -- too many to count; by December, the "No" has been crossed off the sign.
Children could be so overwhelmed by the drawings and jokes, they might forget to ask where all those rabbits come from.