Thursday, August 5, 2010

More Life-Size Zoo and Life-Size Acquarium by Teruyuki Komiya, photographs by Toshimitsu Matsuhashi

Two new books from Seven Footer Kids are huge hits in our house.  First is More Life-Size Zoo: An All-New Actual-Size Animal Encyclopedia. It's a follow up to last year's Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia. Originally published in Japan, this oversize book (14.4 x 10.2), introduces readers to 20 zoo animals.

The book begins with a table of contents that looks like a map of a zoo. When you turn the page, you're face to face with a wolf named Kinako whose licking her chops. On right side bar you:
  • Learn more about Kinako--her age, gender, and scientific name
  • See questions that ask readers to identify specific features of the wolf in the photograph (pointy ears, white eyelashes, etc.)
  • Read facts about wolves in a comic-strip format. 
The rest of the book follows a similar format as readers meet animals like Okayu a baby gibbon, Sally, a five-year-old Panther, and Shouta, a four-year-old seal. 

The outstanding feature of this book is, as the title indicates, the pictures are life size. Special fold-out sections even show up-close looks at a male lion, polar bear, and hippo.

The end pages include full-color photographs and more basic information about each animal including its habitat and size.

Also part of the Life Size Book series, is  Life-Size Aquarium  by the same author and photographer.

It follows the same concept and format and the Life-Size Zoo books, but here readers meet aquarium animals, some you'd expect to see like a sea turtle to more unique creatures (at least to kids in the U.S.) like a leafy sea dragon and Japanese giant salamander. Fold-out sections in this book show a super big Humphead Wrasse (a really big fish), an Orca named Bingo, and a Walrus named Tuck. My daughter loves to hold her arm up to Tuck's tusks to see whether or not the tusks are longer than her arm (they are).

There are many things I love about these books:
  1. The life-size photos of course. In a world where we can easily access information on the web and e-book readers, we rarely see ANYTHING in it's actual size. To be able to look into the life-size eye of a bison is pretty awesome and offers a real perspective of big and small. 
  2. It's kid friendly. Most of the animals have names and ages. That personal touch is a huge hit at home. The information is presented in a simple format, and the comic book format of the animal facts is super easy to read and understand. Kids of many ages can get enjoyment out of this book. 
  3. There are a lot of learning opportunities. Whether you're a teacher, homeschooler, or a caregiver who loves to use books as learning tools, there are so many opportunities for learning across different curricula from language arts and science to geography and math. Visit the series website for ideas.
They certainly get the three-year-old seal of approval in our house. Even my little son likes to look at the animals and touch the photographs. Highly recommended.

More Life-Size Zoo info:
Life-Size Aquarium info:

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