Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia
Written and Photographed by: Teruyuki Komiya
Recommended Ages: 4-8
If you have a young child who is interested in animals, then Life-Size Zoo might be the perfect holiday gift. It's an actual-size encyclopedia with true-to-life photos of animals, and interesting facts to go along with them.
What I mean by actual-size is that you have life-size photographs of animals in a very large picture book format (14.5" by 10.2"). In some cases, like the koala bear, you can see the entire bear on a large two-page spread. In others, like the gorilla, you get just a side profile of a head on two pages. In still others, like the giraffe, you have a four-page spread stretching from its tongue to just the top part of its neck. It's a pretty awesome way to get a feel for how big (or small) an animal is in actual life.
But the real fun comes with a closer reading of the facts. For instance, did you know that an anteater eats up to 30,000 ants in one day, and that they have a small mouth and no teeth? Or did you know that there are three types of zebras, and the way to tell the difference is by their stripe patterns? Their muzzles are black with no stripes (the close-up photograph is fascinating; you can see the individual wiry whiskers surrounding her lips). I bet you also didn't know that a baby elephant sucks her trunk the way that a human baby sucks her thumb! Or did you know that a rhino's horns are actually made of a bundle of hair?!
Besides the unique facts given about each animal, we are also treated to a rundown of some of the more basic facts such as body length, height, weight and habitat. The Table of Contents is made to look like an aerial map of a zoo. All in all, it's a clever layout from cover to cover.
I think Life-Size Zoo is a book that kids will return to over and over again as they revisit their favorite animals and discover new ones. It would make a great gift for a child you care about, or, better yet, for the classroom of a child you care about.
BookNosher Facts: Life-Size Zoo won the Parent's Choice Gold Award in Spring 2009.