As Large As Life: The Scale of Creatures Great and Small, Short and Tall by Jonny Marx, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat. 360 Degrees, Tiger Tales, year 2021. 9781944530341
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? Brightly colored digital illustrations compare the size of many animals, from the mosquito to the blue whale, in this oversized book made for browsing. Every two page spread looks at a different grouping or biome and features either a human hand or a full-sized human in order to gauge the scale of the featured animals; text also sometimes provides their size (in both Imperial and metric measurements) and facts about the creatures. For example, a woman hikes the Australian Outback and sees a common emu (6.2 feet) and a koala (2.5 feet). A man in a tiny boat sails over a blue whale (100 feet) while a diver swims past a whale shark (40 feet). Sometimes the reader will have to rotate the book when the pages use a vertical orientation, for example, to better showcase the Madagascar rainforest. Every page is packed with animals and information and I did appreciate that the featured hands and people came in various skin tones. A final 4 page fold-out shows all the animals in the book so that readers can compare everyone’s relative size.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Although no maps were furnished, some sections were organized by biome, so clearly all those animals lived together. The Sumatra spread featured animals from that island, and all the ones in the illustration labeled “Galapagos” presumably lived off the coast of Ecuador. However, children examining the Creepy Crawlies page might surmise that all those featured insects live together, but they do not, nor is information included on where they do live. Curiously, for a book on size, many animals do not include measurements, while inexplicably others do. Some tantalizing information really required more follow up; who knew that the Portuguese man o’ war is actually several organisms combined?
To whom would you recommend this book? This would make a good classroom library addition, for browsing between work time. The lack of an index, map, sources and further reading limit its usefulness for research, but as a recreational resource, its brightly colored pictures and tidbits of information will be appreciated.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? 590 (zoology)
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: August 21, 2021