Monday, January 13, 2014

The Animal Book

Booklist starred (October 1, 2013 (Vol. 110, No. 3))
Grades 1-5. The author of more than 30 books about the natural world offers here a compendium of the animal kingdom arranged in thematic chapters touching on family, senses, predators, defenses, extremes, and evolution. Chapters (signaled by colored tabs running along page tops) contain multiple spreads addressing subtopics (for example, the topic of “Family” breaks down into “Attracting a Mate,” “Eggs,” and “Born Alive”). Each of these sections includes a brief introduction and multiple captioned illustrations, and the chapters close with an infographic that summarizes the section’s most important points. As always, Jenkins’ cut-paper collages are a highlight and demonstrate great use of vibrant color, attention to detail (particularly sizes), and an overall sense of design. The back matter is rich as well; the index of animals contains thumbnail illustrations and notations about size, habitat, and diet, while an appended section on “Making Books” explains Jenkins’ process—from ideas and research to illustrations and publication. Much of this artwork has appeared previously, but it is repurposed to superb effect, with new captions and organization. This is a beautiful book that belongs in most collections; it will engage browsers for hours, and the many textual features make it an excellent choice for classroom curricula.

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