Raoul Deleo

Terra Ultima

De ontdekking van een onbekend continent

A feast for the eyes, thanks to Deleo’s dazzling, encyclopaedic watercolours and pencil drawings of exotic animals

Animal species are dying out at a rapid pace, but Terra Ultima is actually adding new ones – like the canary bee, the flamingo deer, the turtle jellyfish, and the golden-edged frog beetle. Two familiar species have been combined to make a new one, which this book presents in fantastically beautiful illustrations.

Terra Ultima is the account of several expeditions to an imaginary continent. Biologist Noah J. Stern describes how he came into possession of the archive of the explorer Raoul Deleo and how he made a selection of the drawings and diary entries. He supplies background information, connects the excerpts and provides frequent ironic commentary on Deleo’s experiences. When Deleo writes that he saw mouse carp swimming through the sand, Stern remarks, ‘I put it down to sunstroke.’

Deleo’s book looks like an encyclopaedic work of reference and is published in a large format, with maps, newspaper articles and an index. The yellowing pages make it extra authentic. The prints featuring the fantasy animals are anatomically precise and astonishingly believable. They are provided with Latin names and explanatory texts that are very convincing. About the butterfly chickadee: ‘Throughout the course of the year, its skull grows and shrinks. The growth takes place in the two months when it is building up stocks for the winter. The more hiding places it needs to remember, the bigger its head becomes.’

Everything in this book is made up but it is presented in such a serious way that readers will come to believe this continent with its amazing creatures must really exist. At the same time, questions and confusion abound. Did Raoul Deleo really undertake these journeys?

The combination of captivating descriptions and bizarre illustrations results in an unconventional book that will appeal to children and adults alike. This is imagination taken to the extreme, delivered with a combination of seriousness and plenty of humour. Terra Ultima is unique in its design and concept.

  • Woutertje Pieterse Prijs 2022

Far and away the most beautiful book I’ve set eyes on this year.


A sight to behold. […] A feast for the eyes, thanks to Deleo’s dazzling, encyclopaedic watercolours and pencil drawings of exotic animals, which look stunningly realistic and familiar, even though they are such weird and wonderful creatures.


Irresistible. This is superior nonsense that is presented with both great seriousness and subtle humour. Terra Ultima is not your average collaboration between an artist and an author – this is synergy. There’s no way this book is not going to win awards for both the writing and illustrations in 2022. […] A cheerful interplay between science and fiction.

Het Parool


Raoul Deleo

Raoul Deleo (b. 1968) is a freelance illustrator who works mainly for magazines. He has won a number of awards for his illustrations. Together with the author Auke Hulst, he created the book De eenzame snelweg in 2007, a travelogue following the route of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. He did the…

lees meer


Terra Ultima. De ontdekking van een onbekend continent (2021). Kinder- en jeugdboeken, 80 pagina's.

Age: 10+
27 x 37 cm



Kasteelstraat 97
B-8700 Tielt
Tel: +32 51 42 42 11
Fax: +32 51 40 11 52


lees meer