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by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) is a wonder book—not a narrative, but a kind of selective encyclopedia. Cut and torn paper collages compose images of various creatures in true scale. Therefore, the image of the giant squid is mostly just an eye, which is all that will fit on a large two-page spread. The text that goes with the squid is a well-chosen factoid, explaining that it “lives deep in the ocean, where its enormous eyes help it see in the dim light.” For the hungry youngster, Jenkins provides more information in an appendix.
D’Aulaire’s Book of Animals
(1949; reprint, New York Review, 2007) uses a similar twofold technique. Fold-outs of about forty animals in three climate zones feature vibrant color panoramas on one side; and, on the flip side, black and white mirror images offer simple text: “The Polar Bear growls. The Gull cries. The Whale blows, and he is the biggest of all the animals on land and in the sea.”
by Anthony Browne (Candlewick, 2008) tells the story of a captive gorilla who signs, “I…want…a friend,” and gets a kitten.
The Snake Book
, a Dorling Kindersley production, arranges curled snakes around two-page spreads, and inserts fascinating text in the open spaces.
by Janell Cannon (1993; Harcourt Big Books paperback, 1997). The painted illustrations are stunning; and the story is a...story--not just a natural history account, though it incorporates that information as well. Cannon became immensely successful with this landmark work, generating a full marketing campaign that includes a Stellaluna bat soft toy. Cannon has subsequently produced other animal tales: Verdi, a python; Pinduli, a hyena; and Crickwing, a cockroach.