As Large As Life / Hide-and-Seek History: The Greeks

These are 2 non-fiction books from 360 Degrees an imprint of Little Tiger: thanks to the publishers for sending them for review

As Large As Life
Jonny Marx and Sandhya Prabhat

Author Jonny Marx takes readers on a somewhat capricious world journey from Peru to the north American Chiuahuan desert, the Australian outback to the Arctic and the Black Forest to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific, visiting various habitats both aquatic and on land. We meet about 250 animals (and occasional plants) – between eight and a dozen large and small on each spread, all drawn to scale. Part and parcel of each spread too, for comparative purposes, is a human figure, part of one or a footprint.

Sandhya Prabhat’s richly coloured scenes of the creatures in their natural habitats contain recognisable images of an insect as tiny as the mosquito and as mighty as the blue whale for instance ;and scattered around the images – each of which is named – are succinct comments by Jonny Marx. Did you know for instance that an Atlas moth can have a wingspan as wide as a dinner plate; or that in the case of Australia’s largest bird, the common emu, it’s the male that looks after the eggs, incubating them until they hatch. While so doing the bird doesn’t eat for drink and might lose almost one third of its bodyweight – that’s dedication. 

Mentions of poison crop up fairly frequently and youngsters will doubtless delight in the also fairly frequent mentions of poo especially this: ‘Jackrabbits are coprophagic, which means they eat their own poo when hungry!’ (By the way the antelope jackrabbit mentioned is, we learn, actually a species of hare with ears around 20 cm. long.) This reviewer was amused to read that those wombats in the Australian outback have cartilaginous backsides and they take advantage of their ‘hardened buttocks’ when biting predators threaten, by diving into their burrows head-first. Then of course there’s the fact their wombat poo is cube shaped, which I actually did know.

Talking of being threatened, on another continent Short-horned lizards shoot jets of blood from their eyeballs when under threat from predators. 

In addition to having a better understanding of relative size, there’s certainly plenty for readers young and not so young to enjoy detail-wise; and youngsters will doubtless want to impress their peers with some of the information they’ve gleaned from this book which unfortunately lacks an index, although there is a contents page.

from the same author and illustrator is:

Hide-and-Seek History: The Greeks

This is an addition to the Hide-and-Seek History series presented on large, thick card pages that have flaps (sometimes double ones) to explore on each of the half dozen spreads.

It starts with a visit to the Acropolis and environs to see a group of archaeologists busy at work; this acts as an introduction to Greek civilisation in general, saying that the ancient Greeks were the creators of democracy as well as great thinkers, artists and inventors.

Then come spreads on the Greek gods and goddesses; some of the heroes and heroines from their stories including Daedulus and Icarus, Ariadne and Heracles. 

we’re introduced to some of the trailblazing mathematicians, scientists, architectural pioneers and sporting greats; next is a look at war and combat, and finally, there’s a look at everyday life in ancient Greece

Vibrantly illustrated, interactive and written in an engaging style, this is a fun way to introduce fascinating facts to youngsters, one bite at a time.

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