Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dogs and Cats

Jenkins, Steve. 2007. DOGS AND CATS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618507672 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]

Jenkins’ superior collage pictures and typically appealing facts are enhanced by this title’s unique format. It is essentially two books in one. Half of the book provides basic information about canines. Once the reader finishes reading the dog information, the book can be flipped over to start reading the feline half. Other clever features are present – the two-page spread in the center of the book is devoted to both animals lazing in harmony. A small cat icon appears throughout the dog half encouraging the reader to read the other side, and a dog icon does the same throughout the cat portion.

Youngsters will be pleased with the way the text is presented. A paragraph on each page tells the factual information, which includes the history, the habits, and the specialties of the animals. Captions also accompany the illustrations, which are the definite focal point of each spread. Jenkins’ expert collage techniques make the illustrations appear three-dimensional, providing readers with an added reason to linger on each page. Pet lovers will unite in lauding this unusual and creative example of Jenkins’ work.

Pair this informative text with fun stories involving dogs and cats. Determine what narratives are supported by factual characteristics. What stories are based on inaccuracies?

Books with canine and feline characters:
Hall, Donald. I AM THE DOG I AM THE CAT. ISBN 0803715048
Reiser, Lynn. DOG AND CAT. ISBN 0688098924
Rylant, Cynthia. CAT HEAVEN. ISBN 0590100548
Rylant, Cynthia. DOG HEAVEN. ISBN 0590417010

Other animal books illustrated by Steve Jenkins:
Guiberson, Brenda Z. RAIN, RAIN, RAIN FOREST. ISBN 0805065822
Jenkins, Steve. ACTUAL SIZE. ISBN 0618375945
Jenkins, Steve. BIGGEST, STRONGEST, FASTEST. ISBN 0395861365
Page, Robin. MOVE! ISBN 061864637X

By Rebecca McKee

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