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Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals Are Big…

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

by Nicola Davies

Other authors: Neal Layton (Illustrator)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A charming little walk through evolutionary theory. Ms. Davies explains the theories and offers countless real-world examples to support them; Mr. Layton's illustrations bring the concepts to life in amusing vignettes. The style is suitable for 5th grade on (in my uneducated opinion), and the author takes great pains to explain any terminology that may be unfamiliar to the reader (there's also a glossary in the back to help). This book is a great way to introduce younger readers to the ideas of evolutionary biology, geometric ratios, and the kaleidoscope of spectacularly unique animals that inhabit the planet. Some background information about dinosaurs is assumed, but most everything else is carefully and wittily explained in the text. ( )
  cyoung3 | Feb 27, 2018 |
It's hard for adults, sometimes, to judge the appeal & clarity of children's science books. ?In my opinion this has the right balance of whimsical illustrations and informative text for age 9 up. ?áAnd I know plenty of adults who could learn a few things from it, too. ?áThe only thing it desperately needs is a 'for further reading' section. ?áIt could also use a 'cutting edge' note... the page about the degree of warm-bloodedness of dinosaurs is vague and, if one searches online, esp. at ASU, one can get better & more up-to-date info. ?á

It's also a little unclear on just how evolution works, failing to make it plain that there is no forethought, no 'desire' for a critter to evolve to be better adapted. ?áSomehow we need to make it plain to kids that evolution is random, and that the definition of 'fittest' is 'most fit currently for the current set of constraints.' ?áOtherwise kids (and adults) keep thinking that fittest means 'best' and that man is top of the heap, king of the mountain.

Still, it's far better than a lot of friendly science books for young children, and I do recommend it. ?á
I also say that it is worthy of the Candlewick logo. ;) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book is all about different sizes- height, weight, volume, etc. It's an ok book, but can get a little wordy. I might pick parts of the book to read along with certain lessons. but it's not a book I would read in it's entirety. ( )
  rhigginbotham | Nov 25, 2014 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicola Daviesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Layton, NealIllustratorsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:51 -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

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763639249, 0763653004

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