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. MontgomeryBig predators ranging from tarantulas to killer whales are presented in this early reader nonfiction book. The text presents big, bigger, and biggest categories and provides examples for each with simple text. A full-page color photo of the predator in action as well as a brief sidebar indicating the animal's size accompanies each example. The categorization in the book is a bit confusing as a 20-foot anaconda is listed in the "bigger" category and the 9.8-foot polar bear is listed in the "biggest" category. Additionally, the text and the photo on the female lion example do not complement each other particularly well. The title does a nice job of complementing the life science national science standards. It introduces and reinforces the concepts of predator and prey in an engaging manner. As with all titles in the "Big Series," the book includes a glossary, a read more section, a list of internet sites, and an index in the back matter. 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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