Jory Johansson and Stephanie Jeske’s Encyclopedia of Unknown Animals

WWhen kids learn things that make sense, it’s a good thing at first. For classes, to make an impression on friends, for life. However, facts and figures tend to pull the plug on imagination (see Parents, Teachers, Neighbors, and Tax Officers). Once you know that Santa Claus does not exist, it is also clear that his reindeer do not exist, which in turn eliminates Rudolph and his red nose as part of reality.

On the other hand, proven knowledge opens up good possibilities. Anyone who has known, for example, that toothed tigers once roamed the land and that porch nut gourmands, who are closely related to mice (yes, yes), called squirrels, would particularly enjoy a combination of the two, the teeth. The fact that this creature does not actually exist makes it even better. Brought to you by Jori Johansson, it’s brought to life in his new book on unknown animals thanks to Stefanie Geske’s blunt illustrations.

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The saber-toothed squirrel is one of his self-confident contemporaries, he smiles in vain, shows his muscles in the pose of a bodybuilder, wears a gold chain and rests his right palm on an acorn as if he had just conquered the fruit. At night she “roams the woods noisily with her gang,” which can certainly be annoying to ear witnesses. However, no one should mess with a squirrel, because he has mastered the martial arts of countless martial arts and is a holder of a green blade of grass (who needs a black belt anyway?). The animal probably has its fangs, which are up to five centimeters long, to “show off,” which is probably the best reason of all. However, she can’t break nuts with it.

Jory Johansson and Stephanie Jechki:


Jory Johansson and Stephanie Jeschke: “Tortoiseshells, Shepherds, and a Big Mouth Rhinoceros.” The small encyclopedia of previously unknown animals.
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Photo: Kraus Verlag

Once it’s cooking, you have to stick with the patrons anyway. Juri Johansson insists that Ratatouille or not, they are “the best chefs in the entire animal kingdom”. Shepherds not only taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami, but also taste sweet and savory. Humans can also do this, but it is more comical with representatives of the ferret family. The example photographed by Stephanie Gisecke is wearing an apron, holding a frying pan, and has buck teeth.

No chicken, no fish

Weasel, Wiesosel, and Whysel can all explain why this is all. The trio is curious by nature and does not belong to rodents, as is often wrongly assumed, but, well, it’s true: questioning animals. They can definitely have wonderful disagreements with the Shepherd because, as gender reveals, they primarily feed on questions. Whether it is tasty or not, it probably depends on the individual case.

There are many precursors to this delusional allure, think Christian Morgenstern’s Nasobēm, Wilhelm Bosch’s “Natural History Alphabet”, Joachim Ringlents’ animal poems, or simply the imagination of most children. Loriot stone lice appear in fictitious encyclopedia articles, but they do not have such beautiful sentences as those by Jory Johansson: “Particularly talented flutes make music in world ensembles such as Schweinfurter Sängersäuen, Quakenbrücker Jellyfish Quartet or Chemnitz Chameleon Choir. Or: ‘For a long time,’ The chicken fish thought it was the only person who was neither one nor the other, neither a chicken nor a fish.” Or: “The favorite colors of paint litter are probably blue, pink, and glitter.”

Of course, we feel that all these beings must be strictly protected. By the way, this also goes for her friends like the floating whale, the peacock whale, the messy isopod or the pouting who always gets insulted in a liver sausage way. We also think that Jory Johansson and Stephanie Jesek could come together again to enrich our animal world – after all, we’re in the sixth mass extinction – with previously undiscovered species.

Jory Johansson and Stephanie Jeschke: “Tortoiseshells, Shepherds, and a Big Mouth Rhinoceros.” The small encyclopedia of previously unknown animals. Kraus Verlag, Berlin 2022. 44 p., ill., Hardcover, €14.90. from 5 years old

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