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Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big…
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Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals Are Little (2009)

by Nicola Davies, Neil Layton (Illustrator)

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I can still vividly recall the day, back in Biology 118, when Professor Cruz explained to our class why the gigantic spiders of fantasy fiction - you know, the kind that you see in stories like Tolkien's The Two Towers (Shelob), or Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Aragog) - would be biologically impossible. How the internal organ systems of such species simply wouldn't be able to cope, in terms of keeping them fed and oxygenated, with an organism of such large volume. It was a sad day...

This engaging picture-book sets out to communicate that same idea - nicknamed the BTLT ("Big Thing/Little Thing") Rule here - and to explore the pros and cons of both small and large size, the adaptations necessary to achieve larger size, and the size limitations imposed by biology. On the whole, I think it accomplishes its goal, presenting its information coherently, and maintaining a "fun" feeling, despite the factual content. The accompanying illustrations by Neil Layton, although a little too "cartoonish" to appeal to me, aesthetically speaking, succeed in keeping the tone of the book light and breezy. An index and glossary are included at the rear. All in all, Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big and Little Animals Are Little is an appealing science book for the younger set - upper elementary school and above, I would say - and is recommended to young readers with an interest in biology, and how organisms "work." ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 24, 2013 |
Just the Right Size is a very informative book about why animals are the size they are. Children can learn about how the world works with this book. When you look at the book you would never expect that it's so full of information, and maybe it could be a bit too much information for such a small book. Although it could be perfect for children who are interested in the topic. ( )
  rgraf1 | Feb 13, 2013 |
This book focuses on answering some of the questions children might have about why some animals can fly, carry things several times their own body weight, walk on ceilings and etc... It goes into the complicated ideas of size ratios in terms of weight and mass and strength. I found this book to be a bit confusing for me. ( )
  KellyLPickett | Jan 22, 2013 |
Nicola Davies takes a somewhat complex (at least to me) mathematical concept and explains it simply and intriguingly for all ages. Why are big animals big and little animals little? Why can't bigger animals fly? How do small animals perform amazing feats of strength? Neal Layton's cartoonish illustrations are humorous without being confusing or detracting from the text. Davies and Layton have produced other fun nonfiction picture books focusing on similar odd and obscure topics, such as animal survival in extremes of heat and cold and parasites.

Verdict: Kids - and grown-ups! - interested in animals, math, or just obscure facts to astound their friends, will enjoy this fun and informative read.

ISBN: 0763639249; Published July 2009 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Dec 30, 2011 |
The book asks and answers many questions about animal size related to math and science.

The book would be useful for informational enhancement in the classroom. ( )
  Jill.Barrington | Oct 23, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicola Daviesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Layton, NeilIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763639249, Hardcover)

From a celebrated team comes a fascinating look at why we don’t have super powers (alas) — and why size matters, for creatures big and small.

Did you ever wonder why there are no high-fl ying, wall-climbing, tall-building-leaping superheroes in real life? Find out what keeps big animals (like us) from engaging in astonishing feats of strength and agility, and yet why being tiny and all-powerful might have a downside. What if you could lift fi fty times your weight (hello, ant), but getting wet could kill you? Or you could soar like a bird, but a cold breeze would do you in? Whether big or small, our size defi nes more about us than we could ever imagine. Join the duo that brought us POOP, EXTREME ANIMALS, and WHAT'S EATING YOU? for a fun and intriguing exploration of what it means to be just the right size.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:28 -0400)

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This book uses cartoon-style art and geometry to explain the relationship between an animal's size and its abilities.

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Candlewick Press

Two editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763639249, 0763653004

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