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.