Sunday, January 03, 2016

3 Awesome Animal Picture Books

Egg: Nature's Perfect Package 
by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
published by HMH Books for Young Readers, March  2015

Trademark cut-paper collage on stark white background with crisp, precise nuggets of information make Jenkins's books perfect for animal-non-fiction-loving young readers.

The book is all about eggs as the title suggests: little eggs, big eggs,, where to lay eggs, how many to lay at a time, egg consumers, egg protection, egg packaging, egg carrying, incubation, and getting out of the egg... all are laid out with plenty of animals showcasing their techniques and ideology.

Everything needed to create a new living creature: The Egg.

[image source: HMH Catalog]

How to Swallow a Pig
Step by Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom
by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
published by  HMH Books for Young Readers, September 2015

A recent top favorite book for the seven year old, he rattles off fascinating facts about animals from this book that surely caught my interest and attention.

Like how a Capuchin monkey smears itself with millipede after rolling the said millipede in its mouth to get it to release its toxins. Why does it do that? Well, that's nature's own insect-repellent right there.

Or, like how smart a crow is that it chooses a stop light and plants its hard-to-crack nut on the road and waits for a car to go by and crush the nut open.

Or, as the title suggests, swallow a whole pig after squeezing it to death as a python does.

The tongue-in-cheek format of the book and the clever presentation is sure to fascinate the curious-minded child, and maybe incite them to imitate these creatures.

[image source: HMH Catalog]

Unusual Creatures
A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals
by Michael Hearst
Artwork, Diagrams, and Other Visuals by
Arjen Noordeman, Christie Wright, and Jelmer Noordeman

published by Chronicle Books,  July 2014

"Unusual Creatures is a rich and fantastic book of charming imaginary animals who... what? They're real? I'll be under the bed." -- Lemony Snicket.

That quote on the cover had me chuckling right away.

The book starts out by explaining the biological classification in a kid-friendly way, with the mnemonic:

Kids Place Candles OFoot Gravy Sausage

↠ Kingdom ➢ Phylum ➢ Class ➢ Order ➢ Family ➢ Genus ➢ Species.

I was hooked right on that page, and so was the kiddo.

The book is laid out alphabetically, starting with Axolotl. "Mama, did you know an axolotl can regenerate its body parts, even its heart? We had an axolotl in our classroom last year, remember? They are so cool!" And we learn that the name axolotl comes from the Aztec language, most common translation being "water dog".

Each double-page spread focuses on one animal. The informational text and related diagrams, with K-P-C-O-F-G-S laid out next to the animal's common and scientific name, plus a full page illustration of the animal with a scale to show its size makes it easy to digest the information in small chunks and marvel at nature's creativity.

Turn to any page at random, and you are sure to find a fascinating and rather unusual creature like Barking Spider, or Giraffe-necked Weevil, or Hammerhead Bat, or or Long-eared Jerboa, or Magnapinna Squid, or Sea Pig, along with some unique but slightly well-known creatures like Echidna, Honey Badger, Platypus, and Slow Loris.

A must-have for our bookshelf, along with every one of Steve Jenkins's books.

Watch video clippings of featured creatures at

[image source: Chronicle Books]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi ,

Your site is very helpful for a single dad, so thank you. I know it's a new book (2016), but I just found a very nice book called "Cooking With Mr. C. by John Contratti. It has a wonderful message for kids. I found it on Amazon. My boys love it. I thought I'd share it with you. I check out your site weekly, so thanks.


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