Actual Size

( 10 )


How big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world's largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that's bigger than your head?
Sometimes facts and figures don't tell the whole story.
Sometimes you need to see things for yourself—at their actual size.

Discusses and gives examples of the size and weight of various animals and ...

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Actual Size

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How big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world's largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that's bigger than your head?
Sometimes facts and figures don't tell the whole story.
Sometimes you need to see things for yourself—at their actual size.

Discusses and gives examples of the size and weight of various animals and parts of animals.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Caldecott Honor winner Steve Jenkins delivers this mammoth-sized animal book that shows moths, ostrich heads, anteater tongues, and other animal features in actual size. Working with stunning torn- and cut-paper collages set against stark white backgrounds, Jenkins briefly describes exotic animals -- listing their length, weight, and other stats -- as he showcases what makes each of them so remarkable. Whether it's a Goliath birdeater tarantula at a gargantuan 12 inches across, a pygmy mouse lemur at 2½ inches tall next to a gorilla's hand, or an eye-popping fold-out of a saltwater crocodile's head, Jenkins's life-size depictions of animals -- accompanied by extended blurbs in the back -- are a wondrous treat.
The Washington Post
As in his earlier books...Jenkins builds richly textured images from torn and cut paper. Meticulously constructed, they capture details down to the last whisker of a Siberian tiger...Young zoologists will enjoy seeing how they measure up with the creatures on each page.—Jessica Bruder
From The Critics
It's one thing to read that the giant squid is 59 feet long, but staring into its basketball-size eye puts it in perspective. Every animal in this oversize book appears at actual size, showing its true enormousness or, in the case of the one-third-inch dwarf goby, its minuteness. (Ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
Publishers Weekly
Animals in Action A trio of titles explores the animal kingdom. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins is the Caldecott Honor artist's latest foray into the natural world. Here, his signature cut- and torn-paper collage artwork depicts animals to scale, imitating fur and skin remarkably. The title page shows a "pygmy shrew, 2 inches long" and readers can view only one 12-inch eye of the giant squid (it can grow up to 59 feet long); the man-eating saltwater crocodile requires a three-page foldout to depict its toothy countenance. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The biggest new name in children's early nonfiction is Steve Jenkins. This collage artist uses few words and fascinating lay-outs to describe absorbing topics. In his latest, Jenkins delivers a book that lives up to its title, presenting animals (or sometimes parts of animals) in life-sized collages and offering measurements and short commentary on each. Jenkins fills one page of this oversized book with a staring giant squid's eye while the facing page gives size and explains how the large eye is needed to see in dim light. On another page, a smidgen of a white shark's teeth fill a page. A crocodile's head stretches over three fold-out pages. While the overall book is ripe for comparisons, Jenkins offers some pages which give immediate contrasts—a gorilla's hand fills a page and a pygmy mouse lemur takes center stage, filling only a small bit of a facing page. Jenkins steers us through the animal world with surprising life-sized illustrations and fascinating visual data that makes sense to young children. He gives more in-depth facts at the book's end. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 3 to 7.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 5-In striking torn-and-cut paper collages, Jenkins depicts 18 animals and insects-or a part of their body-in actual size. One illustration compares an atlas moth with a 12-inch wingspan to a dwarf goby fish, which is 1/3-inch long. The eye of a giant squid, at a foot across, occupies a spread to terrific effect; only the snout and tongue-curling its two-foot length across two pages and littered with termites-are visible in the picture of the giant anteater. The hand of a gorilla fills a page opposite the entire pygmy mouse lemur with its tiny human-fingertip-sized palm. The saltwater crocodile grows to 23 feet, so tremendous that its head occupies a three-page foldout. On the reverse side is the rat-eating Goliath frog, a staggering 36 inches long in full hop. One or two lines of text briefly introduce each animal and give specific measurements, e.g., the gorilla stands 5 1/2 feet tall and weighs 600 pounds, while the mouse lemur is 2 1/2 inches tall and weighs 1 ounce. The end matter offers full pictures of the creatures and more details about their habitats and habits. Mixing deceptive simplicity with absolute clarity, this beautiful book is an enticing way to introduce children to the glorious diversity of our natural world, or to illustrate to budding scientists the importance of comparison, measurement, observation, and record keeping. A thoroughly engaging read-aloud and a must-have for any collection.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A new exploration of the biological world, from one of the current masters of collage, features life-size-not scaled-representations of the extremes of the animal kingdom. Wonderfully textured collages are set against a white background, accompanied by a minimal text gloss about the animals, and their sizes. Some are so huge that only parts can be seen (the one-foot-diameter eye of a giant squid) and others require some squinting (the 1/3-inch dwarf goby). It's a fascinating subject, and one that will resonate with an audience for whom relative size is a matter of daily interest. Jenkins exploits it for all its worth, including a fold-out of a crocodile's jaw and a snarling tiger whose face spills off the page. Four concluding pages provide more information about the featured animals, along with reasonably sized, full-body reiterations of the illustrations. Sadly enough, however, in a book that is so intimately concerned with measurement, only English units are used, seemingly ignoring the fact that the metric system is the universal language of science worldwide. A regrettable flaw in an otherwise outstanding offering. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-12)
From the Publisher
"Jenkins' imaginative paper collages work their usual magic in transcending their medium to capture the spirit and detail of their subjects. The real triumph here, however, is the compositions...the book makes brilliantly creative use of its tight focus, resulting in startling closeups." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

"Jenkins' artwork is gorgeous (a gatefold of a frog in midleap is particularly memorable)... An unusual, unusually effective tool for connecting children to nature's astonishing variety." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"A thoroughly engaging read-aloud and a must-have for any collection." School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547512914
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/7/2011
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 141,346
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: IG1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated many nonfiction picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eye-popping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Wow! What a perfect book for elementary school children! Could b

    Wow! What a perfect book for elementary school children! Could be used in a science, math, or non-fiction literacy unit. A must for any and every classroom!

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    Caution: Items are as Large (or as Small) As They Appear! Brace

    Caution: Items are as Large (or as Small) As They Appear!

    Brace yourselves; we're about to discover how big (or small) some of the most amazing animals on earth are! This informational book does an excellent job of putting the actual sizes of many animals that most of us will never come into contact with into the reader's perspective. These are animals that we surely have read about or heard about at some point, but sometimes it can be hard to visualize what an animal would really look like up close from just a definition or encyclopedia entry. The book features gate-fold pages and colorful illustrations comprised of "torn-and-cut paper collages depicting animals or their body parts" in (you guessed it!) their actual size. (Temple, Martinez, & Yokota, 2011, p. 366) By utilizing this form of artistic media, the author captures the finest details of the animal or body part featured. Seeing is believing, and this nature-inspired book will surely delight its readers when they discover how they actually measure up in size when compared to these animals!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012


    I teach 5th grade and used this book with a measurement lesson I found. The students enjoyed the "fun" learning activity. The pictures in the book were impressive!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Awesome Book!

    I first used this book for my Children's Lit class and loved it so much that I bought it for my daycare. It has became one of the kids' favorite books, they love comparing their body parts to those of the animals in the book. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005


    Reading this book is better than a trip to the zoo! Children can view, up close, eighteen different animals or creatures. They can compare their own body size to the life-size examples of the extremely large gorilla or to the tiniest of all fish, the dwarf goby. Across two of the pages, an African elephant foot is shown. It is enormous and children will be awed by it's gargantuan size. Children can gaze into the twelve inch eye of the giant squid and learn why squids need eyes the size of basketballs. Steve Jenkins does a remarkable job of presenting a selection of animals and creatures to young readers. His illustrations, which are a collage of cut and torn paper, capture a part of each animal in great, life-sized detail. The illustrations are displayed on plain white paper, so as not to distract from the features of the animal. They are well designed, artistically pleasing and relate the true magnitude of each specific aspect. Every illustration is accompanied by a brief sentence which offers interesting and amazing statistics about the animal's size. The text is simple yet factual. At the end of the book, Jenkins includes a small picture and short paragraph describing each animal's habitat, hunting practices and food preferences. This book definetely generates reader involvement and would be a great assest in any classroom or for a child's personal library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2004

    Fun animal fact book

    This is a fun animal fact book based on the sizes of various animals. My second grade students loved it as a read-aloud, and later they read it during silent reading with a ruler to check the illustrator with the actual sizes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2010

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