A lot of axolotls

While trees may have been on-trend for 2021, 2022 is shaping up to be all about axolotls, featured front and center on covers! This trend extends into the far reaches of children’s media, from cuboid axolotls appearing in Minecraft, to the outrageously popular Build-a-Bear axolotls selling out instantly. I do get the hype — with pink spines along their faces and oddly human smiles, axolotls are the perfect blend of cute and charmingly bizarre. While I’m admittedly not sure I knew what an axolotl was until high school, today’s picturebook-age readers have a plethora of books to choose from about these funky lil guys. 

My Life at the Bottom: The Story of a Lonesome Axolotl  
by Linda Bondestam, translated from Swedish by A. A. Prime; Restless Books 

In this Swedish import, an axolotl contends with both loneliness and the effects of industrialism and climate change on their environment. Still, the axolotl bravely sets out into the world to find new friends. 

The World’s Most Pointless Animals  
by Philip Bunting; Quarto 

While I’m not sure I agree that axolotls are pointless, the cover of this funny nonfiction book of quirky animal facts asks us to ponder a big question about an axolotl: “What is it?” 

Axolotls: Day to Zzzzzz 
by Stephanie Campisi, illustrated by Susanna Covelli; Familius 

A group of four axolotls, each sporting a different color and personality, go about an average day (well, maybe not quite average for an axolotl in the real world). Each new action they take leads to punning — like “eggsolotl” for cooking up some breakfast or “saxolotl” for banging out tunes. 

The World’s Most Freaky Animals 
by Elizabeth Ginnis; Gareth Stevens 

This nonfiction title lays down the facts on some of the weirdest, most wonderful animals out there. Axolotls, of course, are so weird and wonderful that they made it onto the cover. 

A Is for Axolotl: An Unusual Animal ABC  
by Catherine Macorol; Macmillan/Godwin 

This ABC book introduces readers to a cast of fascinating, less common animals they may not have heard of — the first, of course, being our funky little swimming friends. 

Essential Amphibians 
by Marie Pearson; Abdo/Essential Library 

Another nonfiction title with a lovely pink axolotl on the cover, this book delivers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about them and their amphibian relatives.  

Are there other axolotl books I’ve neglected to mention? What do you think the next trendy animal will be? Feel free to share your thoughts about axolotls and beyond! 

Bodie Shanis

Bodie Shanis is an editorial intern for The Horn Book, Inc., studying towards an MA in Children’s Literature and MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons University. 

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