The evolution of the eye and the surprising ways animals see the world are displayed in a thoughtfully designed and engagingly illustrated album.
The look of a Jenkins book is unmistakable: realistic cut-and-torn–paper images set on a stark white background; short informational paragraphs; a helpful section of concluding facts with a pictorial index. But the content is always an interesting surprise. Here, he considers vision, the way animals link to their world using light-sensitive cells. Beginning with a description of the earliest, most simple eyes, he goes on to catalog four kinds, giving a representative example of each: eyespots (starfish), pinholes (giant clams), compound eyes (dragonflies) and camera eyes (birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, even octopuses). Then he offers 22 more—from sea slugs to Eurasian buzzards—each presented on a full page or spread across two. Each example includes a full-color thumbnail silhouette and a much larger close-up of the head and eye. Some of the papers are textured or varied in color. A surprising number of animals have hairy or bristly bits around their eyes, often depicted in individual tiny bits and pieces, suggesting incredible finesse on the part of the artist. A concluding section summarizes eye evolution, again from eyespots to camera eyes. A bibliography of suggestions for further reading and a glossary round out this intriguing introduction.
Another impressive presentation from a master craftsman. (Informational picture book. 6-10)