The Art of Taxidermy

Text. Aug. 2019. 240p. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781925603743.
Gr 8 Up–From the moment she found a dead gecko in her house, Lottie has been fascinated by death. She collects specimens to observe and dissect. Eventually, she learns about preservation of bodies, and she tries to preserve her specimens in various ways (drawings, photographs, etc.) Unfortunately for Lottie, Aunt Hilda doesn’t approve of this kind of interest, at least not for a girl. Meanwhile, Lottie is haunted by her mother’s death and other tragedies in her family. The novel also covers wartime prejudice and the internment of Germans in Australia during World War II. Squeamish readers may want to steer clear given the descriptions of dead animals, but readers who are as drawn to such things as Lottie is will find a beautifully written novel in verse that renders grief in an evocative and haunting way.
VERDICT A sad story with a hopeful ending that will appeal to readers who appreciate unique stories and unusual characters

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