Friday, January 25, 2008

Living Color, by Steve Jenkins

Color is an important adaptation of animals and bright colors often signal danger, or attractiveness to the opposite sex, or may offer camouflage in some environments. Red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, and pink each have one or two doublespreads featuring animals in these brilliant colors particularly striking here against the white pages with brief facts about the color's advantage to the animal. Postage stamp illustrations with facts about size, habitat and diet of each animal fill out the last several pages. Many of these animals are unfamiliar and while this is a fascinating book to browse, I wish the author would include an index. This may be one of the few sources of information about many of these animals in print collections.


bullarc said...

I will second this title. I struggled a bit making this decision because I felt that the information on each creature is quite brief. As I examined this book I was reminded of the students who come to the media center looking for facts about the obscure animal that they have chosen to research. As mentioned in the nomination, it may be difficult to find more sources on several of these animals thus limiting the information that such a student could include in a report. However, I think that this book might be a helpful resource for teachers to introduce a concept such as the various roles of color in nature, from camouflage to impressing the opposite sex. Another use might be to read several of the cleverly worded headings and encourage students to predict what the heading means before sharing the information included on that animal either to encourage higher order thinking or to share an example of creative language use.
I agree that an index would be a helpful addition. I also found myself wanting to know more information behind the facts shared. For example, Jenkins mentions that both the deep-sea jellyfish and the blood red fire shrimp appear black in the dim blue light hundreds to thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean where these creatures live. So how was it determined that they are actually red? Were these creatures extracted from the ocean for study? Did they die and float to the top? Perhaps the four suggested titles for further reading would answer those questions and provide more information on some of the specific creatures briefly discussed in this title.

KP said...

This book needs much better cataloguing so that students who are looking animal defense mechanisms will find it. Also mating, mature vs. immature coloring, camouflage. Great illustrations though and much information for those middle school kids who just want to know.