Book Reviews Non-fiction Picture Books

Life-Size Zoo by Teruyuki Komiya

August 31, 2011

A couple of years ago, when I was on the non-fiction picture books panel for the Cybils, this was one of the seven finalists. I loved Life-Size Zoo from the first moment I set eyes on it, and I’ve had it on Ella’s bookshelf ever since.

Because the book is so large, it’s been tipped on its side, and she’s never noticed it. But when I pulled it out a few weeks ago and showed it to her, it’s now in her top five favorite books. She drags it out at least once a day and carries it over to me (it’s funny to watch since it is nearly as tall as she is and she has to lean back a little to keep it from catching on the carpeting).

The book has photographs of animals at their real size (which  means for an animal like an elephant, you can only see a very small portion of its head. The giraffe page folds out to a total of four pages in order to capture the length of a giraffe’s head with its tongue out). It’s kind of astounding how enormous some of these animals really are. Also, when you see a capybara next to another rodent (mouse), you realize that if you saw that rodent in your house, you’d probably have to burn the place down and move immediately (oh, just me?).

Each page has the stats on the animal photographed (age, name, weight, height, etc), a sentence or two about the animal, and then a panel of small line drawings that give you more info about the animal (did you know a camel’s hump will dry up and flop over if they don’t get water?).

I love reading this book or just looking through the pictures. It’s an ideal book for a young kid who thinks they don’t like books or for kids who love animals.

There are two more books in the series now (More Life-Size Zoo and Life-Size Aquarium) which I now know I must procur immediately.

Book received from publisher for Cybils 2009 judging

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  • Reply Miri August 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Um, I love this. Purchasing will happen… immediately.

  • Reply Jen August 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Ha, I work in a library and just last week I was shelving this, and instead of putting it away, had to hold the lion face up to my face to compare for the rest of the staff.

    This book is pretty awesome.

  • Reply Kristy August 31, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Just requested it from the library. We are studying animals. So apparently you are my own personal librarian…any recommendations for fun story books about ancient times? 🙂

  • Reply Kayla August 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Holy cow, my kids would LOVE this book. I'll have to find it.

  • Reply Mrs. Doolittle September 1, 2011 at 12:48 am

    These look very cool. I can't believe how cheap they are on Amazon! I just sent a link to our new librarian. First and second graders would love them.

  • Reply Packrat September 1, 2011 at 2:34 am

    In other words a "must give as a gift, but I really want to keep it for myself" book. Right? lol

  • Reply Peaceful Reader September 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I love this book also and didn't know there was a new aquarium edition. I must put it on my school book order. I love that the book is as tall as Ella!

  • Reply Whitney January 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Well this just looks fantastic! Wonder if our library will have it.

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