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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Animals By The Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics, by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2016. $24.99 all ages

"... so the figures given for their biomass are based on what scientists have learned about an animal's population and average weight. Most people have never seen a bristlemouth, a small deep-sea fish. But some scientists think that bristlemouths and termites might outweigh every other kind of animal ... "

Get this one for the kids who love facts, and figures! I don't know a child who doesn't love Steve Jenkins' books. They are filled with the most amazing information and splendid images of animals, always with  further learning in mind.

In this new book he presents an incredible array of animals, all while trying to help his readers understand them in terms of number. He suggests that numbers help with much of our learning about the world. He then uses visuals to bring an ever clearer understanding about some of the many things they can do.

"Many animals survive by being swift fliers,
runners, or swimmers. Animals use their speed
to catch prey or to avoid becoming prey

On the graphic chart that accompanies that bit of information, Mr. Jenkins shows that the peregrine falcon's maximum speed for an animal in the air, on land, and in water is 200 mph (322 kph)! Are you kidding? The slowest is the humpback whale at 16 mph (26 kph). Who isn't fascinated at such a comparison? The realistic cut-paper collage images of a peregrine and an Australian tiger beetle are accompanied by a factual caption that is relevant to the pages presented.

Steve Jenkins knows his audience (including adults) and constantly pens books that entertain and educate. What he presents is a sure bet with kids and what they want to know. The design makes the text to accessible and easy for readers to grasp the concepts. Human feats are always part of the presentation, allowing readers to see themselves within its pages.

Helping children understand the power of nonfiction is evident throughout this very useful book. Kids get to see graphs and charts, a timeline, a flow chart, symbols, keys, a table of contents, bibliography, websites, and an author's note concerning the compilation of the data he has included.
Perfect for practicing how reading nonfiction is so very different from reading fiction, and as compelling as every other book by the articulate and prolific Steve Jenkins!  It is another one of those books for browsing to tempt all readers and encourage learning.

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