Creatures Great and Small

Overview

Join Toronto author and illustrator Karen Patkau as she explores the world of insects, mammals, sea jellies, reptiles, amphibians, birds, crustaceans, arachnids, and mollusks. From extremely large creatures, such as the blue whale, Chinese giant salamander, and goliath tarantula, to extremely small ones, such as the bumblebee bat, dwarf gecko, and fairy shrimp, embark on this informative, beautifully illustrated voyage of discovery. Even the simple fact-filled text is ...

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Overview

Join Toronto author and illustrator Karen Patkau as she explores the world of insects, mammals, sea jellies, reptiles, amphibians, birds, crustaceans, arachnids, and mollusks. From extremely large creatures, such as the blue whale, Chinese giant salamander, and goliath tarantula, to extremely small ones, such as the bumblebee bat, dwarf gecko, and fairy shrimp, embark on this informative, beautifully illustrated voyage of discovery. Even the simple fact-filled text is enchantingly presented in the voices of the animals themselves.

A glossary, map endpapers, and handy charts — introducing the concepts of scale and proportion by comparing measurements of animals that are “Big” and “Really Big” to “Small” and “Really Small” — make this book a must-have for parents, schools, and libraries alike.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
The difference between very large and very small creatures is laid out on a series of double pages. On each spread, a "great" is contrasted with a "small," in the categories of insects, fish, mammals, sea jellies, reptiles, amphibians, birds, crustaceans, arachnids, and mollusks. There are several sentences giving brief but informative backgrounds for each large and small example. Two final double pages clearly explain what Patkau means by "really big" to "really small," with units of measure, grids, and notes on actual size. The digitally created illustrations look as if they were made from cut paper. They appear smoothly realistic and are arranged attractively on subtly colored backgrounds. The juxtapositions of contrasting animals are done with sensitivity without distracting from their natural differences, making for a book that is both attractive and informative. The inside of the paper jacket can be used as a poster. There is a useful map on the endpapers to aid in locating the creatures covered inside, as well as a glossary.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Each spread in this informational picture book shows a large animal filling a page-and-a-half scene and a small one from a similar classification on the right edge. For "mammals," an African elephant strides on the left and center, while a bumblebee bat crosses the moon to the far right. A clear line divides the adjacent scenes, but still allows the tip of a trunk to playfully cross over into the bat's world. Sharp lines, bold colors, and careful composition of the computer-generated art successfully convey the rich variety of creatures and environments, accentuating similarities and differences. The white of the ostrich's tail feathers, for instance, leads the eye to the tiny but distinct strip of white on the bee hummingbird. In another scene, a tiny poison dart frog is easier to spot than the much larger Chinese giant salamander because of their respective coloring and settings. Each creature shares basic facts about itself in a few brief, first-person sentences. More complex concepts such as echolocation and spawning are included in the brief glossary. Labeled illustrations at the back of the book introduce concepts of scale in a clear and inviting way. They also give readers a chance to view the intricate details of the smaller animals, which are too small to see when first introduced. This well-conceived package makes a good companion to Steve Jenkins's Actual Size (2004) and Big and Little (1996, both Houghton).-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Award winning author and illustrator Karen Patkau has produced a beautiful oversize non-fiction book which introduces the concepts of size and shape as well as scale and proportion to young readers. This book would make an excellent read aloud for non-readers and early readers but the fact-filled text will also appeal to independent readers. Patkau’s well researched book does an excellent job of defining the concepts… A must purchase….”
Resource Link

“Patkau has done an excellent job… Creatures Great and Small is a beautifully designed and illustrated information book guaranteed to intrigue five to eightyear- olds and should make a valuable addition to the biology section of the elementary school library”
CM Magazine

“Sharp lines, bold colors, and careful composition of the computer generated art successfully convey the rich variety of creatures and environments, accentuating similarities and differences. Labeled illustrations at the back of the book introduce concepts of scale in a clear and inviting way.”
School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Our world has many wonderful creatures that exist all around us. Children love learning about all creatures great and small. Colorful pictures with short bursts of information make reading about animals that live in the water and on land easy and fun. Animals and insects come in all shapes and sizes. Their diets range from drinking the nectar from a flower, to eating insects or other larger animals. These creatures also have a variety of ways in which they can protect themselves from predators. The Poison Dart frog has slippery skin that is poisonous if you touch it. The Arctic Lion jellyfish has long streaming tentacles that sting anything they touch. The Dwarf Gecko, if caught by his tail, has a way to break the tail off and make a great escape. The tail does grow back. The Japanese Spider Crab attaches sponges to its shell for camouflage. Fairy Shrimp love pools of rainwater, but when the rain dries up their eggs lie dormant, until it rains again. Patkau has put together an interesting and eclectic group of creatures for young kids to read about and share. Charts in the back of the book show young readers actual sizes from the really big to the really small. The glossary gives brief descriptions of words and their meaning. Children, parents and teachers will love flipping through the pages, inspecting the bright colorful digital images, and talking about what they've learned. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887767548
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 10/10/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 11.31 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Patkau is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children. The first book she illustrated was Don’t Eat Spiders by Robert Heidbreder, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Medal. Several of her other books have also won prizes including the Our Choice Award for Python Play and Dimensional Illustrators Award for her books In the Sea and Seal is Lost. She has written and illustrated two books for children, both about animals: Ringtail and In the Sea. Karen Patkau resides in Toronto.

Here are some of the awards Karen Patkau has won:
-Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice 2004 Award / Sir Cassie to the Rescue
-Applied Arts Magazine Annual Awards 2004 / Sir Cassie to the Rescue
-11th Annual Dimensional Illustrators Awards 1999, Bronze / Python Play
-Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice 1999 Award / Python Play
-3rd Annual Dimensional Illustrators Awards 1992, Bronze / In the Sea
-2nd Annual Dimensional Illustrators Awards 1991, Merit / Seal is Lost
-Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice 1987 Award / Ringtail
-Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Medal — UNICEF / USSBY, 1986 / Don’t Eat Spiders
-International Graphic Design Awards 1986: Picture Book Illustration / Don’t Eat Spiders

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