REVIEW COPIES PROVIDED BY PUBLISHER
This is my third year as a judge for the CYBILS. After I read the books myself, I always take them to school to try them out with kids. Last year, one of the most-loved, most-borrowed (and most fought-over) Cybils nominees was Teruyuki Komiya's LIFE-SIZE ZOO. I'm not surprised, then, to see two more "Life-Size" books on the list of CYBILS nominees. These books are kid (OK, and adult!) reading magnets.
If you are not familiar with the series, you absolutely need to check it out. Each of these large (12"x 18") books begins with a table of contents cleverly designed as a map similar to what you would pick up when you entered a zoo or aquarium. From there on, though, it's gorgeous photograph after gorgeous photograph after gorgeous photograph of animals. And they are all life-sized! MORE LIFE-SIZE ZOO features a four-fold (ok, this one is a little hard to fold) lion, another four-page spread of a hippopotamus, a baby kangaroo eating a stalk of grass, a two-page polar bear head, a cheetah, a bison, a leopard, a racoon, and several other more unusual animals, such as an okapi and a gibbon. LIFE-SIZE AQUARIUM includes a little of everything you might see in an aquarium- fish, penguins, whales, dolphins, lizards, sea turtles, jellyfish, etc. My favorites were the four-page walrus (close enough to count the hairs on his face and marvel over his long tusks), the four-page orca, and the fin on the sea turtle.
The LIFE-SIZE books are relatively simple in format, but also contain some great textual tools. A bar down the right side of each page highlights the part of the body that's been photographed, a TIME FOR A CLOSE UP section points out four or five key features and sometimes identifies their purpose, then a FACTS section gives four or five important facts. These books, aside from being so dang much fun, would be great mentor texts for young children learning to write research reports.
Can't wait to see Teruyuki Komiya's next LIFE-SIZE book. This series is terrific!