Book Review: The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, Maja Säfström


If you’ve been following along for a while, you know how much I love animal facts, illustrations, and reading nonfiction. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts caught my eye the moment I saw it online. Maja Säfström is a Stockholm based architect and illustrator, and her style consists of fun, simple black and white drawings. Her new book is 120 pages of black and white illustrations accompanied by some facts, about 2-3 facts per animal. If you read as many animal facts as I do, you probably won’t learn anything new from this book, but to be honest, this isn’t the kind of book that you pick up to learn new things. I did learn a few new things though, like did you know that cockroaches don’t like to eat cucumbers and bees don’t sleep?

I think this book could actually make a pretty fun coloring book, so I will probably plan on doodling in it or maybe giving it to a friend’s daughter. Säfström also sells greeting cards, postcards, tea towels, etc, with her illustrations. I’m not a huge fan of decorative books or coffee table books, so I would recommend buying other things over buying her book since they also have a practical aspect. But if you’re a fan of looking at pretty things, this may be right up your alley.


I’d recommend this book to people who like trivia, people who follow illustrators on Instagram, and people whose living rooms look like an Ikea catalogue.

Additional Resources:

  • I would like to thank Blogging for Books for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • Check out Maja Säfström’s website here.
  • Buy the book here.


Physics of the Impossible – Psychic Animals

I just finished reading Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible, which explores and explains a lot of the different things we see in science fiction novels. One of my favorite chapters was on telepathy.

te·lep·a·thy (noun): the supposed communication of thoughts or ideas by means other than the known senses.

Guess what? According to Michio Kaku, telepathy is not impossible – just not the kind of psychic powers that we see on tv – like mind reading, future telling (sorry, tarot aficionados!) The most interesting part of the chapter though, in my opinion, was a brief history on telepathy, which included the animals that duped humans. Here are the psychic animals (all horses, for some reason) that Kaku mentions.

(A photograph of Clever Hans, not Morocco, since obviously no one could have photographed 1590)

Morocco the Horse:  One of the earliest cases of a psychic animal, Morocco the Horse lived in the 1590s. Morocco could spell, do math, and identify people in a crowd. He was so popular that Shakespeare wrote him into his play, Love’s Labour’s Lost as “the dancing horse.”

Moth: Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here

is three studied, ere ye’ll thrice wink: and how

easy it is to put ‘years’ to the word ‘three,’ and

study three years in two words, the dancing horse

will tell you.

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