cover image Why Do Elephants Have Big Ears?

Why Do Elephants Have Big Ears?

Steve Jenkins, illus. by Robin Page. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-45679-1

Economic, conversational text answers a straightforward query on each page of this signature-style q&a book from Page and the late Jenkins (What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?). About the titular question, “African elephants live in a hot climate, and they need a way to cool off. Their huge ears act like radiators, shedding excess heat.” Meanwhile, evocatively textured, ingeniously framed digital collages spotlight the animals. One spread zooms in on a zebra’s back, which seems to ripple across the pages. Later, a giant squid’s smoky black pupil, shown surrounded by a yellow-green cornea, pops out from the verso, while the recto shows the creature’s dappled blood-orange skin. As the title indicates, many questions are standard issue for the format, but a focus on unusual animals and intriguing traits— the aye-aye’s long middle finger, the wombat’s “cube-shaped poop”—coupled with the stunning graphics, make this a fitting addition to the collaborators’ oeuvre. Each page includes a proportional human-to-animal diagram; back matter builds on the text. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)