Thursday, October 5, 2017
Apex Predators: The World's Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present, written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Houighton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. $24.99 ages 8 and up
The fossa (fos-uh) is found
only on the island of Madagascar.
It is an excellent climber, and
it stalks its prey - lemurs, wild
pigs, birds, reptiles, and small
mammals - in the treetops
and on the ground.
The fossa looks like a cat,
but it is more closely related
to a mongoose."
Oh my, yes! Steve Jenkins has done it again. When this book becomes part of your home or classroom library, it will rarely be returned to the shelf before another keen reader scoops it up to read about the deadly hunters presented. We get face-to-face with them in quick order. Following an introduction to predators that include the pictured terror bird, their evolution and those whose toughness, size and protective armor made them virtually invincible, we move on to meet even more of them.
On facing pages, Mr. Jenkins presents predators from both present and past. A Siberian tiger faces a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Short paragraphs offer just enough information to ensure the reader understands why they are included. As he does in so many of his books, he provides clear size comparisons to help us see their size in perspective. Always compared to a human ('the deadliest predator of all'), these hunters are shown to scale and created using his signature and very realistic paper-collage artwork.
The African wild dog faces the electric eel. This is what we learn about them:
"Strength in numbers
Hunting in packs of as many as thirty animals,
African wild dogs patiently pursue an antelope,
wildebeest, or zebra until their prey drops from
The electric eel lurks in the rivers and streams of
tropical South America. It zaps fish, amphibians,
and other small animals with a powerful electric
charge, then gulps them down while they are
stunned and helpless."
If you are not yet intrigued, I am surprised. He leaves readers thinking about how well a modern apex predator might fare if matched up with one from the past. And, asks us to consider the deadliest one of all - us!
A bibliography and various websites are useful.