This title is difficult to categorize. It is definitely nonfiction. A fact book of sorts. A book of art. That too. Quirky, odd, fantastic. All of these things. Some of nature’s truths displayed a little more graphically and gruesome than one might usually find in children’s literature. . . Cannibalistic crocodiles munching each other for lunch. But also absolute charm conveyed through simple text and illustrations that go where our imaginations might.
A polar bear is left handed as are most artists.
This line is illustrated by a polar bear holding paints having just painted a self portrait.
What exactly is this book I am describing? A gorgeous animal concept book illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens: Jumping Penguins (published in 2013 by Lemniscaat) In the Netherlands this title is published under this title: Jumping Penguins and Laughing Hyenas.
There is an index in the back. It lists 27 animal names and the pages they are featured. That is about as far as a nod to typical organization of nonfiction texts might take us. Otherwise it is all whimsy. Wonder. Amazement.
Each fact is given some elaboration or not. But each one is illustrated not realistically but more in a what might/could this mean if we thought creatively about it. Penguins can leap six feet in the air? So . . . do they stand around and watch graceful leaps out of the freezing sea? The illustration suggests just that.
What were particular wow facts/illustrations for me?
- An adult porcupine has 30,000 quills on its body which are replaced every year (the illustration shows us porcupines using discarded quills to erect a fence around their property)
- The ribcage of a hippopotamus is so large, the average seven year old could stand inside of it.
- Sumatran tigers do like water – in fact they have webbed toes and can swim more than fifteen miles.
Find the book and be delighted and informed in the most wonderful of ways. Amazing animals. Yes, truly.
Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2014! Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction titles.
My goal is to read 65 nonfiction picture books for 2014. Progress: 25/65 complete!