"In this absorbing tribute to nature's genius, cut-paper collages illustrate the built-in defenses of animals and insects," wrote PW. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
With delightful collage illustrations, Jenkins presents a variety of animals (14) and their defense mechanisms to avoid becoming another animal's prey. The octopus, for example, squirts black ink, which gives it time to escape. While a puffer fish blows itself up into a spiky balloon that is difficult to swallow, the clown fish heads for the tentacles of the sea anemone which are poisonous to others but not it. Some animals use camouflage while others use speed to escape their enemies. It is a fascinating look at the diversity of nature and survival skills that have evolved to help animals defend themselves. 2001 (orig. 1997), Houghton, $5.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer:Marilyn Courtot
Gr 3-5--Jenkins answers the question of what different creatures do when another wants them for dinner. He identifies the animal on one page ("the bombardier beetle defends itself...") and then follows up with its defense mechanism on the next ("by shooting a mixture of hot chemicals from its rear end and into the face of an attacker"). The artist's trademark cut-paper collages on textured backgrounds show both attacker and potential prey on one page, and then a close-up of the animal escaping on the next. Defenses include mimicry, camouflage, and speed as well as specific responses such as the ink that octopuses use or the puffer fish's ability to expand itself. The final page invites readers to imagine, "What would you do if something wanted to eat you?" Useful for teachers introducing animal defenses and the terms that go along with the subject and a great choice for a storytime.--Sally Bates Goodroe, Houston Public Library
The art of camouflage works on several levels here: Jenkins (Big and Little, 1996, etc.) cleverly conceals a factual compendium of 14 animal and insect defenses as a colorful picture book.
Predators are depicted in pursuit of prey on each right-hand side of the spread; a flip of the page uncovers the clever escape mechanism employed by the would-be victim, from the bombardier beetle that can spray hot chemicals up to 500 times a second, to the glass snake that conveniently segments its tail. Whether curling up into an armor-plated ball, squirting clouds of ink, or imitating a leaf, the tricksters are described in a couple of sentences that invite further investigation of these survival techniques. Layered cut-paper collage animals are positioned in dramatic stances against textured handmade-paper backgrounds. In a few instances, the black typeface is difficult to discern when it is superimposed on the dark green of leaf or grass. One final question, "What would you do if something wanted to eat you?" takes readers into their own cat-and-mouse scenarios. A dashing look at natural escape routes.
"Jenkins has produced another marvel. . . . Young children will delight in first guessing, then seeing, how each of fourteen unusual animals avoids becoming someone else’s dinner." Horn Book
"Thrilling, beautiful . . . dramatic." Booklist, ALA
"The youngest animal enthusiasts will find this an intriguing introduction to adaptation." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books