Did you know a female kangaroo is called a flyer?
It’s right there on the cover of Jessica Loy’s newest children’s book, “Weird & Wild Animal Facts.”
This is the third children’s book for the Delmar author, who has a particular interest in inspiring children to learn new things.
“I enjoy working with kids,” said Loy, who is a professor at the Center for Art and Design at the College of Saint Rose, where she teaches graphic design. “Kids are so naturally curious, and they are eager and interested in learning new things. It’s easier to get them involved.”
The 40-page, hardcover book has a similar layout to the infographics one would see out of a newspaper. A sophisticated step above any picture book. The recommended audience ranges between 4- and 8-years-old. Many of the pictures are taken from Loy, and laid out with fascinating facts about each animal, from the Panamanian Golden Frog to the vulture. There’s also underwater, and subterranean creatures to learn about, such as the Giant Pacific Octopus and the naked mole rat, respectively.
There is little about the naked mole rat that makes it photogenic. For one, it’s naked. As are most creatures for that matter, but for this mole rat in particular, it is nearly devoid of hair, is full of rolls, and has the distinct characteristic of large, yellow teeth.
Nonetheless, it’s seems popular enough with kids, said Loy.
“I knew when I was at the zoo, I was on the right track because all the kids were surrounding the naked mole rat display. I couldn’t get close to them.”
There are 14 animals highlighted in all, representing a piece of work that took more than a year to complete, said Loy.
“I have to say I really love the research part,” she said. “Taking the photos and talking to the people who take care of these animals. … It’s a process of learning what they do.”
Afterwhich, Loy takes to her expertise in graphic design to layout the artwork and information in a format that’s engaging to children. “There’s an opportunity to be creative with imagery, layout and design.”
Loy, whose other titles include “When I Grow Up: A Young Person’s Guide to Interesting and Unusual Occupations,” and “Follow the Trail: A Young Peron’s Guide to the Great Outdoors,” said she hopes children will gain an appreciation for animals that will continue to grow as they do.
“I like the idea of inspiring children to learn more about the Animal Kingdom,” she said. “I hope as they grow older they learn to be careful, and be sensitive to the environment. Learn to be conservative and understand their place in the animal world.”
Loy will appear at The Book House at Stuyvesant Plaza on Saturday, June 13 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., to sign books, give away free bookmarks and offering a free activity for all children.
Michael Hallisey is Managing Editor of Spotlight Newspapers.