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What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? Paperback – March 18, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-Jenkins, this time in collaboration with his wife, has created yet another eye-opening book. Children will learn that lizards can completely break off their tail as a defense and that it will grow back. And, they'll find out that crickets' ears are on their knees. Most fish have two eyes, but some have four, the better to see above and below the water at the same time. These are just a few of the fascinating facts of nature dangled out front to draw readers into this beautifully illustrated book. On each spread, five different animals' tails, ears, eyes, or other body parts, done in vibrant cut-paper collage, appear with a simple question ("What do you do with a- like this?"). The next spread shows the five creatures in their entirety and offers a brief explanation. For example, "If you're an elephant, you use your nose to give yourself a bath." The back pages offer more information for older or more curious readers. This is a great book for sharing one-on-one or with a group.
Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Huntsville, AL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. Here's another exceptional cut-paper science book from Jenkins, this time put together with a partner, and like previous books, it's a stunner. An opening page, clearly explaining how to use the book, is followed by a double-page spread picturing the mouths of several different animals, accompanied by the question, "What do you do with a mouth like this?" The next spread shows each animal in full, explaining in a few simple words how the part functions. Tail, ears, nose, and eyes are covered in the same manner. A picture glossary at the back shows each animal again, postage-stamp size, with an informative note elaborating on the creature's special adaptation. The notes also neatly answer questions that might arise during a reading (Why do horned lizards squirt blood out their eyes?) and add to the interactive aspect of the book. A variety of animals is represented--some (elephant, hippo, chimp) will be comfortably familiar; others (four-eyed fish, blue-footed booby) are of interest because of their strangeness. Jenkins' handsome paper-cut collages are both lovely and anatomically informative, and their white background helps emphasize the particular feature, be it the bush baby's lustrous, liquid-brown eyes or the skunk's fuzzy tail. This is a striking, thoughtfully created book with intriguing facts made more memorable through dynamic art. Tim Arnold
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The animals are rendered with great richness and depth by (if you look closely) beautiful torn-paper collages. It's so skillfully done by Steve Jenkins that all of the creatures are full of personality, and seem to live in a batik-cartoon world.
The riveting part is how there are so many animals that each have unusual stories revealed through fun and different and interesting body parts. This is not a "first animals" book at all. Rather it gains its fascination by showing how animals make so many different uses of their body parts, uses that go against what you first think.
For instance: A platypus uses its nose "to dig in the mud." But "[i]f you're an elephant, you use your nose to give yourself a bath" [image of trunk squirting water back over elephant's head]. For ears, you learn that a jackrabbit uses its ears to keep cool, and crickets have ears on their knees. A chimpanzee can eat with its feet, and a gecko's feet are sticky so it can walk on the ceiling. And so on.
Engrossing and whimsical from page to page again and again. Just wonderful!
At the end of the book, a section includes a one-paragraph "bio" with additional details about each animal, with the rest of the story on the unique appendage. For example, the chimpanzee has some general description, and also this detail about how they eat with their feet: "Like people, they have an opposable thumb. Unlike us, thy also have an opposable big toe. This allows them to pick up and manipulate things with their feet." This description is obviously way more advanced than the book itself -- but children love to hear more of the story about characters or animals from the adult reading to them, and this book gives you (the adult) the back story for every one of them.
I was floored when What Do You Do with a Tail Like This arrived. Giggly and awed at the same time. The reviews didn't prepare me for how much I'd viscerally like this book the moment I opened it! I cannot recommend this highly enough!
Good read-aloud for ages 4 - 7 (although for 4 - 5 year olds, you probably wouldn't read all the details).