Leonard S. Marcus
Young children measure themselves against their parents, siblings, pets and friends as they come to grips with the various nuances of the concept of big versus small, eventually recognizing, for instance, that a clown's bulbous clodhoppers are "too big" and therefore funny. This portable zoo feeds their natural inquisitiveness, and Komiya's thoughtfully prepared "fun facts" and questions, tucked away comic-strip style in vertical panels at the right margin, make the book a kind of scavenger hunt as well.
The New York Times
The claim to fame for this oversize collection of animal portraits is that each animal is shown at "actual size." The striking photographs, taken at Japanese zoos, provide a rare opportunity to see animal faces up close (for bigger animals, like the elephant, the pages fold out) from the tiger's pink tongue to an armadillo and hedgehog, shown in profile, as well as rolled up tight. Animal facts are provided in side panels that feature stick figures who engage readers ("Can you see that this zebra has... long hairs underneath her eyes?") and cute cartoon versions of each creature. The stellar photographs, playful format and informative content create a highly appealing package. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Actual size photographs of small animals and partial shots of larger ones appear in this oversized book (14 ½" x 10"). The photos were taken in Japanese zoos and the double-page "Table of Contents" resembles a map of a zoo with cartoon pictures and habitat features. Small stick figures interact on the pathways. The twenty animals featured range in size from the meerkat and prairie dog at about twelve inches in length to the giraffe at twelve feet tall and the elephant measuring up to twenty-one feet across. Most of the animals' faces or parts of their heads appear on double-page spreads with three or four lines of factual information and a side-bar which shows which part of the animal is in the photograph and offers additional fun facts. The elephant, the giraffe, and the rhinoceros are on pull-out pages giving them each a four-page spread. Small pictures of the whole animals appear on the end pages with information about sizes and native locations. An impressive resource for getting a good look at animals rarely seen up close. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
This slim, oversize book contains superb photos of 20 animals chosen at random from Japanese zoos. They feature huge, full-body images of smaller critters like meerkats and full or partial head shots of the big guys like rhinos and tigers. Foldout pages are used to accommodate such "biggies" as the entire head of a giraffe (tongue extended!). The chatty text offers a simple sentence about each animal and is accompanied by equally simple sets of "fact boxes" (be prepared for lots of data on peeing and pooping). The endpapers contain complete body shots of all 20 animals, along with general data on size, weight, and global distribution. Very handsome indeed, this is a stunning introduction to animals that many children may only see on smaller-than-life-size TV and computer screens.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY