Monday, October 12, 2015

#1 Fan - Totally biased

I love Steve Jenkins.

I love his illustration style.  I love that he focuses on the natural world sharing lots of quirky trivia and facts about every group of critter out there. I love that he finds a new approach with each book. I especially love that he keeps producing books.

The latest book to hit the shelves in the Doucette Library is How to Swallow a Pig:step-by-step advice from the animal kingdom (co-written by Robin Page).  The book begins with the premise that knowing how to swallow a pig – whole!- would be a useful skill to have --  but maybe you’d want to work up to this.  It’s not for amateurs.

So, to work up to swallowing whole pigs in one go, you might want to practice a few other animal adaptations beforehand. Here we go:

*Trapping fish the way humpback whales do would be a technique to consider. 
   1- locate fish (herring and sardines are the best);
   2 – notify friends;
   3 – scare fish together by slapping your tail on the water.  No tail, problem tail. You have whales for friends, remember;
   4 – herd the schools together by blowing bubbles and circling in smaller circles.
   5 – It’s dinner time! Open mouth wide and swim straight up through your clustered school. Yum.

Other adaptations include nest-making the Tailorbird way, which requires sewing a leaf together; keeping biting insects away using the toxins of millipedes like Capuchin monkeys do; disguising yourself like a mimic octopus which can take on the shape of other water creatures such as a sea snake or a lionfish (really clever this); or spin a web like a barn spider (think Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web) the real challenge being able to spin silk thread.

Too many animals to list here but not to marvel at and emulate, apparently. The back pages includes additional information about each animal he illustrates.

Whether learning how to swallow a pig is really in your best interests, picking up this book and any other written by Steve Jenkins definitely would be.  This will be of interest to elementary and middle grades.

Others that I consistently recommend and teach with include:
What do you do with a tail like this?


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