In his eye-popping work of picture book nonfiction, the Caldecott Honor–winning author-illustrator Steve Jenkins explains how for most animals, eyes are the most important source of information about the world in a biological sense. The simplest eyes—clusters of light-sensitive cells—appeared more than one billion years ago, and provided a big survival advantage to the first creatures that had them. Since then, animals have evolved an amazing variety of eyes, along with often surprising ways to use them.
Jenkins zeroes in on animal eyes in his latest merging of science and artistry. Subjects include the colossal squid (each of its eyes are "the size of a basketball the largest of any animal"), the panther chameleon ("it can look in two directions at once"), and the tarsier, which has eyeballs larger than its brain. As usual, Jenkins carefully crafts his animals from torn and cut paper, creating an array of textures and a striking sense of detail, whether an animal is furry, feathery, or scaly. The eye, with its intricate structure and symbolic resonance, is an ideal focus for Jenkins's inquisitive, informative narrative and multidimensional art. Ages 6 9.