Celebrate all that is BIG! From big bugs to big trucks, big things come in all forms. The large format, striking photos, and simple text are sure to engage the reader.
Children's Literature - Heather L. MontgomeryIn categories of "big," "bigger," and "biggest," this book provides examples of large invertebrates. Each example includes one to four easy-to-read sentences, a sidebar that quantifies the maximum size of the species, and a full-page photograph. The photographs of these eye-catching species, such as the peanut-head bug, are in full color and often depict the animal in the act of consuming prey, fighting, camouflaging, etc. For example, the giant water bug is shown jabbing a frog with its proboscis. The book includes numerous insect examples as well as other invertebrates such as the tarantula and scorpion. For the most part, the book is sequenced in terms of size, but, for some unexplained reason, two of the species are presented out of order. The life science national science standards are supported by this text. Vocabulary introduced includes "fang," "predator," "sting," and "survive." As with all titles in the "Big Series," the book includes a table of contents, a glossary, a read more section, a list of internet sites, and an index. Reviewer: Heather L. Montgomery
School Library JournalK-Gr 2—Nine kinds of animals notable for their size are featured in each of these simply written introductions. Bugs looks at a mix of insects and arachnids (e.g., peanut-head bug, tarantula hawk, goliath bird-eating spider), while Predators includes polar bear, anaconda, shark, etc.). In each title, a page with one-to-three short sentences alternates with a clear, color photograph of one or more of the animals. The text describes one or two key physical characteristics—usually body parts used to capture prey—and, for some of the animals, behavior (e.g., in Bugs, "Giant water bugs use big front legs to trap frogs" and in Predators, "Eagles swoop down from the sky. Their big talons grab fish from the water."). A boxed sidebar gives the maximum length of the featured animal in each section; however, the usefulness of this information varies, particularly in regard to animals with a large number of species, as the measurement cited doesn't necessarily apply to all species worldwide. Although the texts are clearly written, the amount of information provided is minimal; few details on the animals' body parts are given, other than that they are "big." More substantive titles that cover some of the same creatures include Sandra Markle's Insects: Biggest! Littlest! (2009) and Spiders: Biggest! Littlest! (2004, both Boyds Mills); both offer real insights into size, explaining how an animal's being exceptionally large, or small, affords it certain advantages that help it survive.—Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
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