cover image Living Color

Living Color

Steve Jenkins, . . Houghton, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-70897-0

Jenkins (Actual Size ) once again astounds with his amazing lifelike paper collage in this book about animal color and the many functions it serves. Striking spreads display a diverse assortment of wildlife, from the exotic purple long-wattled umbrella bird of South America to the more familiar purple sea urchin. Grouped by color, more than 60 animals are realistically depicted in highly crafted vignettes, their tails or tentacles often curling between the text blocks. Eye-catching layouts begin with a large, bold heading that reads, “Red says...” or “Purple says...,” etc. For example, in the case of the flashy hyacinth macaw, the color blue implies “Look at me!”, whereas it holds a decidedly different message (“Don’t touch!”) when it comes to the poison dart frog. Short paragraphs beside each creature explain the reason for its hue; for the three-toed sloth, “Green says... I don’t want a bath... algae gives the sloth’s coat a green tint... it helps hide the sloth from hungry eagles and jaguars.” Concluding pages provide facts about the animals’ sizes, diets and habitats, and answer questions like, “How is animal color created?” and “Why are mammals so drab?” Jenkins uses collage to great effect and includes clever touches—animals that can change color, such as the common cuttlefish, wrap around pages to demonstrate their abilities. The combination of easy-to-understand language and gorgeous illustrations makes this a prime choice for any young animal enthusiast’s collection. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)