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How to Become Extinct

How to Become Extinct

by Will Cuppy
Illustrations by William Steig

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Product Details


ISBN: 978-1-56792-365-0
Pages: 128
Size: 5.4" x 8.0"
Published: August 2008
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In these forty brief essays, the perennially perturbed Will Cuppy turns his unflinching attention on those members of the animal kingdom whose habits are disagreeable, whose appearances are repellent, and whose continued existence is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. He is not – decidedly not – without reason. (The pike is pretty nasty as fish go, don't you agree?)

And while Cuppy may frequently leave in his wake more questions than answers, we surely owe him a debt of gratitude for at least asking. After all, someone has to consider the distinctions between Stoats and Ermines, or why the Age of Reptiles simply had to come to an end. And if his take on the Giant Ground Sloth is less than flattering, who are we to quibble?

And grateful we are, if only for the author's flawless observations: the carp's "falciform pharyngeal teeth;" a fish that sings through its "glenoid cavity;" M. Danois, who is "seventy-two times as smart as the average Tunny." No other writer of our ken could pinpoint the coloring of the Common Viper as "gray, greenish, yellowish brown, reddish, or black."

Decorated with illustrations by the ever-delightful William Steig, this bestiary of fanciful, fretful, and ferocious creatures is sure to enlighten the naturalist in all of us, the one who never really understood why, exactly, so little is known of the Dodo's daily life, even if it's too late to ask about it now.

Will Cuppy

Will Cuppy was an American humorist and literary critic, known for his funny and satirical articles and books about nature and history. He wrote for The New Yorker and other magazines, and his articles have been collected into books that are both amusing and factual.

William Steig
William Steig has been called the "King of Cartoons" for his prolific work at The New Yorker. He drew over 2,600 cartoons and 117 covers for the magazine during his nearly fifty-year career. His children's books, which he began producing in his sixties, include the Caldecott Medal-winning Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Shrek!, the basis for the animated film series.