Czech / Czech Republic
Ztracený deník profesora z Essexu (aneb podivuhodna zvířena)
(The lost diary of the Professor from Essex [or: The wonderful world of animals])
Šašek, Miroslav (illus.)
Praha: Baobab, 2017. – 72 p.
Natural scientist | Research trip | Discovery | Animals | Fantasy fiction | Fictional travelogue
Reading age: 8+
White Ravens issue: 2018
A professor from Essex is on a research trip with his wife Rosamund. They are heading to an unknown island in the South Sea, somewhere near Australia and New Zealand. The nature researcher jots down what he finds in his diary. Mainly he discovers unknown animals: double-headed, multi-beaked, fork-tailed, a cross between millipede, beaver and eel. Described in precise detail, he draws and names the animals he discovers and documents his dangerous expedition through the densely forested island. Olga Černá has concocted a wonderful fictional diary report that could well have arisen from Charles Darwin’s plume. The text exudes ancient adventure from a time when the world was still big and contained unseen spots. The other highlight of the book are the curious drawings of the fantastic animals. They are by Černá’s great-uncle, the well-known Miroslav Šašek (1916-1980), and it is here that they have first been amassed in one book. No wonder that this “diary” was awarded the 2018 “Golden Ribbon” in the Czech Republic.