Picture Books – Actual Size

How does your hand match up to the hand of a gorilla? This book provides the answer. Author/illustrator Steve Jenkins brings his signature paper collages to this fantastic exploration of the animal world. A simple sentence or two accompanies a life-size illustration of an animal, or part of an animal if that creature is too large to fit on the page (for instance the portrait of a giant squid has room only for one of the twelve-inch eyes.) Some basic information about the animal, such as height or length (whichever is more relevant) and the weight of the full-grown animal are included in small font on each page.

The paper collages are phenomenal. Steve Jenkins takes the same basic concept that Eric Carle first made popular and brings it to a whole new level. The paper quality adds texture and depth to the pictures that is amazing. An ostrich’s neck looks fluffy with down in a completely different manner than a pygmy mouse lemur appears to be fuzzy and soft. The crocodile’s skin is appropriately rough and lumpy, while a frog has very smooth skin. The way he is able to get so many different qualitative sensations out of the same medium is astonishing.

Kids will be fascinated by this look at animals large and small, from a moth that is a foot long to a fish that is 1/3 of an inch. Older children will also be interested, and will benefit from a section in the back that gives more information about each animal. A recommended read for almost everyone.

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