Disassembled animal images make a puzzle for preschoolers.
Endlessly inventing new ways to organize Jenkins’ realistic cut-and-torn–paper wildlife illustrations, this prolific couple here offer an identification game for very young audiences. Each puzzle takes up four pages. On the first spread are five captioned parts or characteristics of an animal: “I have…two touchy antennae, nine black spots, two delicate wings, six wiggly legs, two beady eyes, and a flower for a home. Who am I?” On the next is the reveal: “I’m a ladybug!” More information about each creature—size, likely habitat, diet, the utility of some of the chosen characteristics, and an interesting fact—is presented in the extensive backmatter, also presented in first person. There are also some suggested titles for further reading, including animal encyclopedias. The stars of this intriguing puzzle collection are an American bullfrog, cottontail rabbit, ghost crab, flamingo, great horned owl, spider monkey, and the aforementioned ladybug (ladybird beetle). As always, Jenkins’ images stand out on a plain white background for ease of focus. The heavy-duty cardstock pages will stand up to repeated manipulation by small hands whose owners will want to play this game over and over.
There is no dearth of animal guessing games on the market, but the thoughtful selections and careful crafting of this new one should make it a good home choice and welcome addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 2-7)