Tooth & Claw by Jim Arnosky
Sterling Children's Books
The photograph flattens out the color of the words "Tooth & Claw" but on the cover jacket, the lettering is actually raised gold. Beneath the jacket is the same image but without the raised lettering, but it's still lovely. When I had little ones, I tended to just toss aside jackets whose covers were the same to use for art projects or to keep them looking nice if the kids didn't feel like chopping them up.
A book about large predators, sixth in a series. Bold illustrations in acrylic and pencil show various big cats, bears and wolves, their paw prints and (where applicable) the type of spot patterns in their fur. Fold-over pages open up to 3-page spreads throughout the book.
I'm a little leery of books that have fold-out pages because they do tend to get torn up pretty easily but I'm familiar with Jim Arnosky's artwork and . . . well, just look at this spread -- you should be able to enlarge it:
Doesn't that just take your breath away? His illustrations are absolutely stunning. Gorgeous colors, enough to make you feel a little like cringing when you see those teeth up close and personal. And, as the text is obviously geared to older children rather than very little ones, I think the fold-out pages are a lesser concern than those made for younger children.
I haven't seen any of the other books in this particular series but I like Tooth & Claw not only because of the full-color illustrations but also because of the informative pencil sketches.
I neglected to take a picture of one of my favorite spreads, which shows the different spot patterns on leopards, jaguars and cheetahs, which I found particularly interesting. Because one of my children was a fan of big cats, I'd love it if the book had been dedicated to big cats alone but the mix of predators in Tooth & Claw is a good one.
Highly Recommended - I would love to see some of the other books in this series to get a better idea of the series as a whole, but the others are listed on the back of the book's cover jacket:
- Wild Tracks! A Guide to Nature's Footprints
- Slither and Crawl: Eye to Eye with Reptiles
- Thunder Birds: Nature's Flying Predators
- Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders
- Shimmer and Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life
Three of these books are award winners, parents choice recommendations and/or listed as favorites by some organization. Jim Arnosky's illustrations are so beautifully detailed that I'm not surprised. His enthusiasm for nature really does show through the text, as well, as he talks about observing and sketching the animals.
I reviewed one other book illustrated by Jim Arnosky, some time ago: Man Gave Names to All the Animals by Bob Dylan. Isabel was still a kitten when I reviewed Man Gave Names to All the Animals; there's a photo of her near Fiona when they were still getting used to each other, in that post. So cool to look back and remember those early days. It's hard to believe we've had these two girls for so long.
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