Whenever I see Steve Jenkins listed in book reviews, I immediately add my name to the reserve list at the library. This time it was for his most comprehensive book yet: The Animal Book. And check out this subtitle: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest - and Most Surprising - Animals on Earth. What an incredible collection it is!
In addition to talking generally about animals, he writes about animal families, senses, predators, and defenses. One chapter is devoted to animal extremes, featuring the blue whale (largest animal), the narwhal (longest tooth), the howler monkey (loudest land animal), and the sperm whale (deepest diver). The last chapter discusses the history of life on earth.
Though I love reading astonishing facts, I am more intrigued by his incredible cut-paper artwork. Some things look so life like...furry, detailed, colorful, or camouflaged. Imagine the man's paper stores! As an added bonus for the reader, he share the process of his own book-making processes in the final pages of the books. From getting ideas to conducting research to creating sketches, thumbnails, and dummies, he explains in words and artifacts just how his work becomes a finished book. This finished book is a gem.