Social Animals, by artist Ryan Berkley and writer Lucy Berkley, is an utterly charming, very cute little book that is destined to belong among the collections of people who enjoy coffee table books. The book features twenty-seven beasts, each of which is an anthropomorphic figure dressed in human attire. The drawings are endearing, beautiful, and are drawn to show the finest details.
The facing page is no less entertaining: humorous description of the creature with its name in alliterations like Reputable Raptor or Wayward Wolf. The few-sentence-long descriptions are also charming like the Savvy Skunk who is in the aromatherapy business with oils, candles and fragrant concoctions. However, tomato juice body scrub is his bestseller following his in-home demonstration. Or the Dedicated Doe the Master Gardener, or Beguiling Badger the gifted Dungeon Master. Equally funny is the top executive Prominent Polar Bear who runs his meeting in the cafeteria’s walk-in freezer where prospective employees where ear muffs and parkas.
This is a book you will read slowly in order to enjoy the fine art and digest the philosophy of the writer. Even though readers will likely enjoy this volume, its home shelf life may not be terribly long.
George Erdosh is a culinary scientist, food writer, and certified cooking teacher with a strong science and research background (Ph.D., McGill University, Montreal). He is the author of 10 published food-related books: a six-book series for young readers Cooking Throughout American History and The African-American Kitchen; Start and Run a Catering Business (in its 4th edition, translated into five languages), Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen and What Recipes Don’t Tell You, as well as numerous articles and magazines and newspapers. Originally an exploration geologist, he switched career to be a high-end caterer, a business he ran for more than 10 years, before switching to food writing and running cooking classes.
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