Recommended for ages 3-7
Does anyone love Steve Jenkins’ Actual Size and Prehistoric Actual Size as much as I do? They are the perfect non-fiction read-aloud for elementary school class visits; the kids go berserk when they see a life-sized Goliath beetle, or watch me put a dinosaur’s claw to the back of my head to illustrate how it could pick me up like a grape. Less terrifying, but just as amazing for the younger set – especially those Octonauts fans out there! – is Ocean Animals from Head to Tail, by Stacey Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya.
Ocean Animals introduces readers to eight different ocean animals, focusing on a unique body part. First, we see a close-up of the animals in question – the scalloped head of a hammerhead shark, a colossal squid’s eye, a blue whale’s mouth with a focus on its baleen – and a question: What ocean animal has a head like this? What ocean animal has eyes like this? What ocean animal has a mouth like this? The body part in question is highlighted with a gray font to call attention to it, and the following spread answers the question, zooms out to illustrate the animal in its natural environment, and provides interesting and quick facts about the animal. We learn that the squid’s soccer ball-sized eyes are the largest of any animal, and help the squid see in areas where there’s very little light. The blue whale’s baleen act as a huge sieve to catch the tasty krill it loves to eat. A spread at the end introduces kids to eight more ocean animals.
Not featured in actual size, but still in huge detail, the kids will LOVE this book. Kwanchai Moriya’s paper collage art is bright and interesting, popping off the page and adding depth to the spreads. My three year-old loves this book (as well as the Actual Size books) and has me read this to him constantly. (It came in handy at the doctor’s office today!) With shows like Octonauts and Wild Kratts generating interest in animals, nature, and conservation, this is a great book to have on home, school, and library shelves. It’s a great storytime book, too: pair it with a Rainbow Fish story, Shark in the Dark, Mr. Seahorse – any underwater theme will do! Show an episode of Octonauts that stars one of the featured animals, and let the kids color some pictures of underwater animals that appear in the book.
This is the second in the Head to Tail series: Dinosaurs from Head to Tail was published in 2015, and Bugs From Head to Tail will be coming in 2017.
Great book for easy nonfiction collections.