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ACTUAL SIZE by Steve Jenkins


by Steve Jenkins & illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Age Range: 5 - 12

Pub Date: May 25th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-37594-5
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

A new exploration of the biological world, from one of the current masters of collage, features life-size—not scaled—representations of the extremes of the animal kingdom. Wonderfully textured collages are set against a white background, accompanied by a minimal text gloss about the animals, and their sizes. Some are so huge that only parts can be seen (the one-foot-diameter eye of a giant squid) and others require some squinting (the 1/3-inch dwarf goby). It’s a fascinating subject, and one that will resonate with an audience for whom relative size is a matter of daily interest. Jenkins exploits it for all its worth, including a fold-out of a crocodile’s jaw and a snarling tiger whose face spills off the page. Four concluding pages provide more information about the featured animals, along with reasonably sized, full-body reiterations of the illustrations. Sadly enough, however, in a book that is so intimately concerned with measurement, only English units are used, seemingly ignoring the fact that the metric system is the universal language of science worldwide. A regrettable flaw in an otherwise outstanding offering. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-12)