Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Steven Jenkins. His two newest books, both published this year, continue to educate and amaze. Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do is a collaboration with his wife, Robin Page (their fourteenth book together). Using a question and answer format, the husband and wife duo explain some of the odder and more unusual physical features found on animals (the leaf-nosed bat’s nose, a giraffe’s purple tongue, the bald face of an Egyptian vulture). Jenkins’ illustrations are beautifully realistic as usual, drawing the reader into the page.
Creature Features looks at animal faces, but Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World goes even closer to focus on the diversity of animal eyes. Written from an evolutionary perspective, Jenkins first talks briefly about the evolution of the eye and the four main kinds of eyes we can still find today. He then looks at animals as different as a colossal squid and butterflies. The most amazing to me was how much more developed some animals eyes are from humans. The mantis shrimp has the distinction of having the most highly developed eyes that are more sensitive to color than humans and that can detect light invisible to most other creatures. Buzzards can see eight times more accurately than us, allowing them to spot a rabbit two miles away.
Other Steve Jenkins books reviewed here at Supratentorial:
The Beetle Book and Just a Second
What do you Do When Something Wants to Eat You?, I See a Kookaburra and Move (the last two written with Robin Page)
Mama Built a Little Nest (written by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Jenkins)
My First Day (with Robin Page)
Time to Eat (with Robin Page)
Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World is nominated for a Cybils award.