Burns Bestiary


Legions of land animals show up across many genres of books, perhaps because they are simply easier to spot by authors and artists. Early descriptions of the world, particularly from regions unfamiliar to many readers, often included images—with varying degrees of accuracy—of the strange and wondrous animals found in other locales. As scientific exploration advanced, so did the accuracy and detail of the animal depictions. Land animals fascinated more than just scientists and explorers; whimsical depictions of land animals of all types and sizes appear in literature and children’s tales. Whether from the familiar house cat to the strange camel-leopard and platypus, artists and readers alike have delighted in the variety and oddities of land animals for centuries.