BIG AND LITTLE by Steven Jenkins


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 7
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 Handsome textured cut-paper collages on white paper show animals of the same species that are vastly different in size. Since each pair is created to scale (1'' = 8''), viewers can make comparisons. A preface explains that various animals grew bigger or smaller over time to adapt to their habitats. Subsequent spreads depict pairs from the same species--one big, one little--while a single line of text, curving around the larger animal, introduces them: ``Both the Nile crocodile and the African chameleon live in tropical Africa.'' Most of the pairs do not inhabit the same habitat: Siamese cats and tigers are not found together, nor are fennec foxes and gray wolves. Animals include the hummingbird and ostrich, sea otter and elephant seal, capybara and deer mouse. Final pages show the animals in silhouette to scale, with a paragraph of information on each. The collages show artistic license: The Siamese cat is charcoal- colored, instead of the more common representation of buff with dark ears and tail; the capybara doesn't appear to have webbed feet; the Virginia opossum looks strangely unlike itself. The main problem is that Jenkins (Looking Down, 1995, etc.) is unclear about his audience: The opening paragraph on evolution is difficult for young readers; the rest of the book does not reinforce that paragraph for older readers and will put them off as little more than a naming or comparison game. (bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-72664-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996


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