Great Big Guinea Pigs

Overview

Did you know that once upon a time, about 8 million years ago, guinea pigs weren't sweet, cute, or little?

We all know about the enormous dinosaurs that used to roam the earth, but millions of years ago, there were GREAT BIG GUINEA PIGS, too!

During a bedtime story, one little guinea pig learns all about his very big ancestors, and how guinea pigs evolved into the lovable pets we have today.

This fun and ...

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Overview

Did you know that once upon a time, about 8 million years ago, guinea pigs weren't sweet, cute, or little?

We all know about the enormous dinosaurs that used to roam the earth, but millions of years ago, there were GREAT BIG GUINEA PIGS, too!

During a bedtime story, one little guinea pig learns all about his very big ancestors, and how guinea pigs evolved into the lovable pets we have today.

This fun and factual picture book by Susan Roth features richly textured cut-paper illustrations that bring to life the story of the great, big, prehistoric guinea pig.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
Did you know that there were prehistoric guinea pigs? This book tells the story of how guinea pigs evolved from a giant size to the small pets they are today. Based on scientific research, this fictionalized account begins with a guinea pig telling her child a bedtime story of how the guinea pigs lived in prehistoric times. She tells him that they were as big as buffalo and weighed a ton. They lived in Venezuela in the swamp and ate grass. They loved to swim, but had to watch out for the hungry alligators. The theory is that when their food began to disappear, they became smaller and quicker. Some stayed wild, but some became "cuter and friendlier." The last page includes a bibliography and facts list about guinea pigs. The large collage illustrations are made from textured cut papers such as canvas, cellophane, and contact paper. The splashy results are interesting and create visual fun. Children will be fascinated by the story and the artwork.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A mother guinea pig tells her child a goodnight story with a twist: their ancestors were giants. As she describes the details of their size ("We were as big as buffalo!") and habits, he interjects with excited questions and comments. Though her offspring has some doubts about the story's truth, Mom confirms at the end that she "read about it this morning in the Times" (newspaper scraps line their cage). Roth's creative color collages shift back and forth between the modern animals in their cozy home and dramatic but lighthearted scenes of the giant beasts in prehistoric South America. The textured torn paper that makes the smaller rodents seem so cuddly looks appropriately odd on their much larger predecessors, whose sharp but goofy teeth and expressive eyes add to the sense of fun. The first full view of the great big guinea pigs, which requires a vertical turn of the book, is especially entertaining. With varied perspectives, expressive figures, and creative composition, the spreads bring both modern and prehistoric worlds to life. A white background clearly differentiates the mother-child scenes from the richly colored images from eight million years ago. While fun to read and visually engaging, the book also presents fascinating information based on recent scientific discoveries. The facts come through in the dialogue without detracting from the lively interplay. The idea of introducing prehistoric mammals within a bedtime tale is original and highly successful.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Once, about eight million years ago, giant predecessors of guinea pigs roamed the land. So says a mother guinea pig to her little offspring during their nightly bedtime routine, fulfilling his request for "NOT a made-up story." Mother and child cuddle in the cut-paper-collage-created cage, as she tells a factual story about their ancestors who lived long ago in Venezuela. Not so cute, nor tame, their distant relatives were wild and as big as buffalo, weighing almost a ton. But, explains the mother guinea pig, various changes in land forms and the resulting change in animal life forced their ancestors to eat less and become smaller and quicker. Roth uses several techniques to demonstrate size, first placing a tape measure in the cage of the contemporary animals and then turning the book in order to hint at the enormity of the earlier ones. Her wonderful choices of paper are described on the flap, but should have been included in the aftermatter along with the bibliography and author's note. Choice of the familiar household pet to teach a little science, the delightful art and the not-so-unusual bedtime stall, make this enormously attractive to young readers. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582347240
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/5/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.98 (w) x 11.03 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan L. Roth is the author and illustrator of many wonderful books for children, including Hard Hat Area and the best-selling My Love for You. Her books have received such awards as the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, ABA Pick of the Lists, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. She has three grown children and lives with her husband in New York City.

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