Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals Are Little
Nicola Davies, , illus. by Neal Layton. . Candlewick, $14.99 (61pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3924-2
This witty and informative book uses the “Big Thing, Little Thing” rule (which explains how the length, surface area and cross section of an object or creature are relative to its volume and weight—thus, there are no “car-sized spiders”) to explore how size affects living things. Davies's often humorous text and Layton's energetic illustrations demonstrate why humans don't have superpowers (“we'd need toes tens of thousands of times bigger than a gecko's to hold us on the ceiling”), and later spreads discuss the advantages and limitations of being very small or very big (“Small animals have a bigger outer surface area for their volume than big animals, so they have trouble keeping warm”). The spot-on comic delivery and readily comprehensible explanations make this a prime pick for readers curious about physical science in the natural world. Ages 8–up.
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009