The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell review – weird and wonderful – Rights History
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The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell review – weird and wonderful

The award-winning children’s author’s enthusiasm for astonishing and imperilled animals is infectious

Katherine Rundell is a scholar, a fabulous writer and a born enthusiast. These qualities were on prominent display in Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, published earlier this year. But she is equally famous as an award-winning children’s author, whose books such as The Wolf Wilder are shot through with a deep sense of the strange and often disturbing beauty of other animals. The Golden Mole is a celebration of 22 species, each of which is either endangered or “contains a subspecies that is endangered”.

Some of Rundell’s enthusiasms are surprising. She “did not believe in love at first sight”, she tells us, until she was introduced to a pangolin at a wildlife project in Zimbabwe. Hermit crabs are “off-kilter beautiful: the jewelled anemone crab has shocking emerald eyes, on stalks that are striped like a barber’s pole in red and white. They can be sea-grey or royal purple.”

The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasure by Katherine Rundell is published by Faber (£14.99). To support the Guardian and Observer order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

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