Animals smooth and spiky, fast and slow, hop and waddle through the two hundred plus pages of the Caldecott Honor artist Steve Jenkins’s most impressive nonfiction offering yet. Sections such as “Animal Senses,” “Animal Extremes,” and “The Story of Life” burst with fascinating facts and infographics that will have trivia buffs breathlessly asking, “Do you know a termite queen can produce up to 30,000 eggs a day?” Jenkins’s color-rich cut- and torn-paper artwork is as strikingly vivid as ever. Rounding out this bountiful browsers’ almanac of more than three hundred animals is a discussion of the artist’s bookmaking process, an animal index, a glossary, and a bibliography. A bookshelf essential!
Jenkins compiles more than 300 animals, using a loosely encyclopedic format with sections covering topics like "Animal Extremes," "Predators," and "Animal Senses." Jenkins's always skillful use of cut- and torn-paper animal artwork appears throughout (several images comes from his earlier books), while factually detailed captions describe each subject, resulting in a vibrant juxtaposition of science and art. Fascinating creatures and characteristics abound: "Most deep-sea creatures cannot see red light. But the spotlight loosejaw can detect it, and it is the bizarre fish's secret weapon." A colossal squid's eye (shown actual size) fills an entire spread, and Jenkins closes out the book with sections on the history of life on earth, additional animal facts, and a discussion of how he goes about creating books. In showcasing the riches and peculiarities of the natural world, Jenkins offers plenty to seize (and satisfy) readers' curiosities. Ages 6 10.