Lifesize Deadly Animals
Red Shed, 2023
32pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99
Imagine opening a picture book and being confronted with the talons of a bird, talons that are bigger than your own hand! And then discovering that they belong to a real bird, the harpy eagle!
In this new book in this series which, this time, compares some of world’s smallest and largest deadly animals , young readers are invited to think about how they compare with these amazing creatures. And as well as discovering that many of the deadliest creatures are not necessarily the largest – the most successful predator is actually the common dragonfly – they also discover that just because something may not be deadly to humans, nevertheless it deserves its place in the book because of its impact on its own environment.
Every second double-page spread features a lifesize portion of a creature including caimans, snakes and lions, and the following spread explains why it is deadly and so effective within its own habitat. So while the Bengal slow loris releases a deadly, flesh-rotting venom to kill, it only uses it on its own kind.
Unlike Lifesize Baby Animals , which lent itself to children comparing their own size to that of the featured creatures, this one takes the reader into a different sort of investigation as they consider food chains and how species satisfy their basic need to eat. Sometimes the biggest or scariest are not always the ones to fear the most.
One of my enduring memories of my 50+ years of teaching in both classroom and library, is seeing groups of young boys, often not the best readers, poring over books like these excitedly discussing their discoveries, trying to outdo each other in the WOW stakes, and I am convinced that the provision of books like this contributes much more to their learning (and reading development) than the content presented within. For that alone, this is a series worth having and sharing (although I am glad that Lifesize Creepy Crawlies is only available as an ebook!)