Man's best friend and its feline counterpart receive some stunning paper collage treatment in Jenkins's (Actual Size) latest work. The two-in-one format offers wide-ranging facts presented in an easy-to-digest, conversational style (with a flip of the book, dog lovers and cat lovers can zero in on one or the other). Section headings in red typeface introduce substantial text blocks and lengthy captions, which touch on topics from ancestry and hunting skills to anatomy and body language. Both halves also include a spread of "amazing facts," and another entitled, "I wonder...." The latter offers explanations for the more unusual characteristics of each animal, such as why cats chase their tails ("They still enjoy acting out this hunting behavior") and why dogs might roll in manure ("A wild dog will roll in the dung of grazing animals to hide its own scent, allowing it to sneak up on its prey"). Jenkins's trademark cut- and torn-paper vignettes, with their subtle shadings and fuzzy or crinkled textures, are so carefully crafted that images of a few of the creatures (e.g., the English mastiff, the Siamese cat) could almost pass for photographs. The book's middle spread acts as a transition, depicting both a cat and dog stretched out on the same green rug, beneath the heading, "Friends or enemies?" (and alongside instructions to "turn the book over and start from the other side"). No matter what side readers are on, they'll come away with a better understanding of both species. Ages 6-10. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Cat and dog aficionados alike will be pleased with this artistic yet factual rendering of their favorite four-legged companions. Readers who start the book from the gold endpapers are treated to a wealth of information about man's best friend; those who flip the book and start from the red endpapers enjoy pages about their independent felines. Find out about the many different tasks dogs do and why they come in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Learn how dogs communicate with each other and why they do some of the strange things they do. Read about the history of cats and how domestic cats vary from their wild counterparts. Find out about feline hunting tactics, as well as about their growth and development. In both sections, enjoy Steve Jenkins' artistic and accurate cut-and-torn paper illustrations.
School Library Journal
K - Gr 5 - This could have been just another book about pets, albeit with a clever gimmick (after reading about one of the species, youngsters can flip the volume over to learn about the other). However, Jenkins has created a book that reaches beyond the mundane and into the spectacular. The two halves of this whole are intertwined throughout. In the part about dogs, cat icons serve as teasers for the other section, and vice versa. The two halves meet in the center with a large illustration of a cat and dog lying together on a rug-a seamless transition from one subject to the other. The lively narrative provides a copious amount of information, examining each species in human history, describing evolution and domestication, highlighting physical characteristics and behaviors, and finishing up with amazing facts about each animal. The layout is excellent, with images dominating the text. Jenkins's cut- and torn-paper collages are stunning. Rough edges look like tufts of fur; patterns in the paper give these flat images vitality. This is a thoroughly attractive package from start to finish. Shared aloud, it is a treat not to be missed.-Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A turn-it-around-and-flip-it-over volume delivers from ends to middle the straight goods on the world's most popular house pets, a cleanly innovative design allowing interaction between the two parts throughout. Jenkins's usual striking collages of cut and torn paper create his subjects in all their textures as he describes their prehistoric passages to domesticity and various and sundry facts about our canine and feline friends. The two narratives mirror each other, essentially following the same structure and at times asking the same questions (the answers to "Are dogs smarter than cats?" and "Are cats smarter than dogs?" for instance, hedge their bets diplomatically). Each double-paged spread features one thematic discussion, images arrayed on a clean white background and smaller sidebars providing additional information. Nothing new here, but the addition of icons at the bottom of each spread shows the other animal and gives one small, related fact, adding an element of interactivity that both teases and pleases. Sure to see plenty of use. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)
From the Publisher
Jenkins brings his inimitable ability to clearly present scientific information to this uniquely styled flip-book comparison of dogs and cats: readers can start at one end of the book for DOGS and Cats, or flip the whole thing upside-down to read Dogs and CATS, according to preference. . . . All the information is tied directly to behavior and traits readers can observe in pets, making it easy to remember; some redundancies aid this effect without stalling narrative design. Muted cut-paper illustrations effectively showcase the natural lines of muscle and bone in featured animals, conveying texture as well as color and form to create pages that are both scientifically engaging and aesthetically pleasing. Generous formatting allows all this to coexist, uncluttered, leaving enough room for small silhouette illustrations in page corners to earmark subject-related tidbits about the opposite species: readers can compare basic traits without having to shuffle through pages. An inviting, multidimensional introduction to the pets we love.
Horn Book, Starred
A cleanly innovative design allowing interaction between the two parts throughout. Jenkin's usual striking collages of cut and torn paper create his subjects in all their textures. . . . The addition of icons at the bottom of each spread shows the other animal and gives one small, related fact, adding an element of interactivity that both teases and pleases. Sure to see plenty of use.
Jenkins is a master at presenting facts with style and clarity.
The San Francisco Chronicle
"...a great book for teaching children...[A] little gem...cut and torn paper collage [adds] depth and movement.” The Advocate 7/29/07
"[I]nformation about each is presented in this ingeniously designed release." The Columbus Dispatch 11/18/07 Columbus Dispatch
"Filled with fascinating facts and lovely, lifelike cut-paper collages." SLJ December 2007 School Library Journal