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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Deadliest! 20 Dangerous Animals, and Trickiest! 19 Sneaky Animals, by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2017. $$8.50 ages 6 and up

"Ocean-going predator
The saltwater crocodile is the
largest reptile in the world.
It is also one of the most
dangerous. This man-eater
has attacked the boats of
sailors in the open sea
hundreds of miles from land.

The saltwater crocodile can
weigh as much as 1,500 pounds ... "

Steve Jenkins does it again! In his new Extreme Animals series, he begins with danger. Kids want to know about any animal meant to scare them, and Mr. Jenkins gives them just enough information to satisfy that need to know, as he does every time he sets out to create a new book.

The design is exemplary - an intriguing title, a short paragraph of needed facts, a text box showing where in the world the animal in question is found and what it eats, perspective on its size in relation to a human, and one further piece of information. Never overwhelming for its target audience, it also encourages further investigation of the included animals concerning the danger they present.

"The king cobra is the largest
venomous snake in the world. It avoids
humans when it can, but will strike if
it feels threatened. In Asia, king cobras
are responsible for hundreds - perhaps
thousands - of human deaths every

But mosquitoes - wait till you read their death toll!

Published at the same time is:

"Ready, aim, fire!
The archerfish squirts a jet
of water from its mouth to
knock down insects. It can
shoot down a moth or fly
that is several feet away. It
gulps down its prey the
moment the insect hits
the water. It is 4 inches
long (10 centimeters)."

In this companion book, we learn about some of the smartest animals on the planet. Needing to catch food, or keep out of the way of a predator, these animals have adapted to using their own tricks of the trade to fool other animals around them. It is what keeps them alive.
They have interesting traits in common ... blending in, setting a trap, even playing dead.

The format is the same, the information as intriguing, and the design much appreciated. Because they are found throughout the world, readers will not necessarily be familiar with each one presented. That only ups the wonder of this book. Mr. Jenkins' paper collage artwork will be familiar to fans, and offers carefully detailed illustrations for each animal included.

A table of contents prepares readers for what is to come, and back matter includes a two-page review of the 19 animals described and how they are connected by a certain characteristic, a glossary, and a bibliography to show the author's research and to point readers toward further reading.

Watch for Stinkiest! and Speediest in the spring! This is a terrific, and much appreciated series.

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