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Review: Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker

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By: burgundy bug

“Sad Animal Facts” by Brooke Barker

Source: The Burgundy Zine

New York Times-bestselling author Brooke Barker delights and depresses readers simultaneously with the zany, punchy, cartoony book, “Sad Animal Facts.”

A Bit of Context…

“Brooke Barker is the creator of the Sad Animal Facts Instagram account and author of the New York Times–bestselling book of the same name and its sequel, ‘Sad Animal Babies,'” says the Workman publishing company. “Brooke has contributed to the New York TimesLenny LetterThe GuardianCup of Jo, The Stranger, and more.”

Currently, Barker works as a freelance writer and illustrator — and still maintains the @sadanimalfacts Instagram account.

“My parents wouldn’t let me have any pets and the nearest wilderness was annoyingly far away from our apartment complex in a Toronto suburb,” Barker writes in the introduction of ‘Sad Animal Facts.’

“So I settled for a childhood spent reading everything I could about animals.”


“I couldn’t stop reading about those sad little animals. I was obsessed. In third grade, I had to leave a birthday party after a horrible run-in with a hive of honeybees. ‘Every one of these stings is a bee that died,’ I informed my friend’s mom as she drove me home from the last party I got invited to that year.”

Needless to say, it all worked out in the end for Barker and her admirable passion for pessimistically pawesome animal information in the end.

Sad Animal Facts by Brooke Barker Review

“Sad Animal Facts” by Brooke Barker

Source: The Burgundy Zine

“Sad Animal Facts” is an innocent, dark-humor-driven 213-page gem. Whether you’re five-years-old, 25-years-old, or 45-years-old, there’s something fun between the covers of this book for everyone.

It’s a great read for curious kids, parents who want a book they can enjoy with their little ones, cool aunts and uncles, and adults who are kids at heart.

“Sad Animal Facts” is a great conversation piece for your coffee table, too.

All of the facts within the book are organized by the following categories:

  • Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Mammals
  • Marsupials
  • Marine Animals: Cetaceans and Pinnipeds
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Insects and Arachnids
  • Miscellaneous Invertebrates

Which makes it easy to locate your favorite animals or sad animal facts.

But by far, the best feature of this book is the appendix from pages 176 to 211. The source and context for every single fact are organized next to a thumbnail-sized version of the fact’s accompanying illustration.

“Sad Animal Facts” in and of itself is a phenomenal book, but the appendix is the perfect touch for satiating curious minds.

Last, but most certainly not least, the illustrations throughout “Sad Animal Facts” are a HOOT! Barker’s simple, cartoon art style has a certain inimitable charm that really brings each fact (and punchline) to life.

Overall, “Sad Animal Facts” is an amusing, fascinating book with the capability of captivating the hearts and imaginations of all ages.

Bug’s Two Cents

5 out of 5 Breathing Turtle Butts

Carousing through the shelves of a mom-and-pop book shop the other day, I could’ve sworn I was dreaming. It’s been about a year since I last visited a bookstore in-person.

I have a few books at home that I’m already reading, plus my semesters are cut into two eight-week terms — which means I’ve been cramming multiple 200+ page books every eight weeks for the last few months.

As you can imagine, I was in the mood for something light and easy, especially after having just finished my final project for the first term of this spring semester.

So when I locked eyes with “Sad Animal Facts,” I knew this book was just what I needed.

And when the first page that I randomly flipped to read, “TURTLES BREATHE OUT THEIR BUTTS,” I was sold.


Source: The Burgundy Zine

I absolutely adore Barker’s illustrations and her sense of humor. There were multiple points throughout the book where I was laughing out loud, gasping, or howling, “Aww, nOOOOOOOOOO!”

The moment I had the book in my lap, I was hooked. I breezed through “Sad Animal Facts” in one sitting, repeatedly nudging my partner and saying, “Hey, check out this page!” the whole time.

Whether you’re buying this book for your kids or using them as an excuse to buy it for yourself — or, like me, using your finals as an excuse to unwind with “Sad Animal Facts” — I HIGHLY, highly recommend giving it a read.

Head on over to Bookshop.org to get your own copy of “Sad Animal Facts!”
Be sure to follow Brooke Barker on Instagram for even more sad animal facts, as well.

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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