Life-Size Zoo

February 24, 2010


Welcome to Nonfiction Monday. Put your posts in the comments section below and I’ll add them throughout the day. I’m out of pocket, but I’ll get to everyone as soon as possible on Monday. Thank you for joining SimplyScience for Nonfiction Monday! You may want to double check the links. Let me know if something is wrong or if I left out anyone. A different computer and interrupted (but fun ) time definitely has me multitaking more than normal!


By Teruyuki Komiya
ISBN #: 978-193473420-9

Seven Footer Press, 2009


Ages 4-8

This oversized book won’t fit on a typical library shelf, but it won’t stay on the shelves anyway. Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia is by Teruyuki Komiya, Kristin Earhart, and photographer Toyofumi Fukuda.

The life-sized photographs of animals from zoos in Japan fill the pages and spill over into fold-outs to fit the adult elephant, a tiger’s mouth, and agiraffe’s tongue. Animals appearing in the book include the tiger, panda, red panda, meerkat, sea lion, giraffe, camel, zebra, tapir, rhinoceros, elephant, aardvark, gorilla, hedgehog, prairie dog, capybara, anteater, sloth, armadillo, and sloth.

Small, colorful sidebars line the right side of each spread with interesting facts about the animal and provide details to the abbreviated text. The appeal is immediately evident with the zebra cover. This fascinating book with its up-close look at these zoo animals is sure to be a favorite.

Activity 1

Choose several of the animals from the book. Look up their habitats and find one way each animal is suited to live in that habitat. Describe the adaptations each animal group has developed that allows it to live there successfully.

Look up animals and their habitats. Go to the upper right side of the page and scroll down to search for the animals.

Activity 2 (for younger readers)

Look up pictures of baby zoo animals. Discuss differences in the baby animal and the adult. See more baby pictures here.

Coloring pages of four zoo animals.

See more reviews (it was a Cybils finalist!):

Check It Out, Bookends, Literate Lives, The Book Nosher, and Wrapped in Foil

National Science Standards: organisms and environments; life cycles of organisms

 Book provided by publisher to Cybils judges


Paula at Pink Me said I had the good fortune to spend some time this weekend reading about the brave and resourceful Marines and civilians who rescued the exotic animals of Baghdad after the U.S. invasion.

Jennifer at JeanLittleLibrary reviewed a cool book on public space, Watch This Space ,by Hadley Dyer.

Roberta at Wrapped in Foil reviewed “Hair Dance.”

Mandy at Enjoy-embracelearning reviewed a great book for early readers, a fun way to introduce nonfiction. 

In Need of Chocolate has Faces of the Moon this week.

Heidi Bee Roemer reviewed The Ant’s Nest written by Miriam Aronin at the Wild About Nature

Jone at Maclibrary has Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss .

In honor of Women’s History Month, Abby’s reviewing Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson over at Abby (the) Librarian

Robin reviewed We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball at The Book Nosher

Motherreader has Moonshot: the Flight of Apollo 11.

 Bookends has Saving the Baghdad Zoo:  A True Story of Hope and Heroes by Kelly Milner Halls and Major William Sumner.  

Becky At Young Readers has At Young Readers, I’ve got Shake, Rattle, and Turn That Noise Down. And at Becky’s Book Reviews, I’ve got American Plague.

The Art of Irreverence has three books about earthquakes.  Fittingly, they are all entitled “Earthquakes.”

Sally reviewed PUFFINS CLIMB, PENGUINS RHYME, by Bruce McMillan at Whispers of Dawn.

Jeanine sends The Writers and Critique Group Survival Guide.

Lost Between the Pages posted about How Robots Work (Robots and Robotics series- MacMillan Library)

Challenging the Bookworm says she can’t stop talking about this book! The book is out of print, but you can still buy it used on Amazon.

Sherrie wrote about a couple of experiments she did with her daughter from Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials.

Anastasia at Picture Book of the Day has a post on an Amelia Earhart bio and resources for Women’s History Month.

Mama Librarian celebrates the life of Dr. Seuss with The Boy on Fairfield Street.

Wendy talked about April Pulley Sayre’s  Meet the Howlers at Wendie’s Wanderings.

Saving the Bagdhad Zoo

February 10, 2010

Saving the Baghdad Zoo

By Kelly Milner Halls and

Major William Sumner


ISBN: 9780061772023


Ages 10+

“Contrary to televisions and newspaper reports, the zoo had not been torn apart by stray explosive. Animals had not been killed by military fire or missiles. But only thirty-two of the five hundred creatures once on display were still caged. Hundreds were missing, butchered for food or stolen for sale as exotic pets on the Iraqi lack market. Even two giraffes, new residents delivered the day before the first bombs fell, had simply vanished.”

Setting out on his mission to archive the priceless relics remaining in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum, Captain William Sumner of the U.S. Army 354th Civil Affairs Brigade didn’t know his mission was about to change. A detour to investigate the state of the Baghdad Zoo set Captain Sumner on a journey to save the few remaining starving, caged animals left following the exit of Saddam Hussein and his family.

Working with loyal zookeepers, relief organizations, the U.S. Army, and a legion of others, Captain Sumner worked to rescue and feed the abandoned zoo animals left. Case by case, individual animals and their subsequent fate are explored in the text and the exceptional efforts of the caregivers are detailed both in the text and sidebars.

Remarkable photos highlight the plight of the rescued animals and show their situation today. The Baghdad Zoo is again open to the people of Iraq and is a symbol of the hopes for safety and freedom for Iraq, a small sanctuary for the people who live among uncertainty of a country struggling to right itself.

This story is the first book to show this story and it is heart wrenching to read. The one quibble I have with the book is the introductory sidebar introducing a political point of view through a criticism of the invasion. I feel the book would have been stronger as a zoo rescue story set amid a war torn country without politics setting the tone initially.  That, perhaps, should be another book. But whatever the views on the war, the heart of this story is the humanity, and that is its main focus. Saving the Baghdad Zoo is a remarkable book with a fascinating story of hope.

Activity 1 (younger audience)

Research the daily food needs for five of the animals from the book. Create a bar graph to show the differences in the requirements.

Activity 2 (older audience)

Choose an animal highlighted in the book. Trace the life cycle of the animal from gestation to adulthood, using quantitative data you researched.

Zoo update from North Carolina zoo (most recent I could find)

North Carolina Zoo

National Science Standards:  Structure and function in living systems, reproduction and heredity

Book donated by publisher through Librarian’s Choices Committee, TWU


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