I See a Kookaburra!
Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. 2005. I SEE A KOOKABURRA!. Ill. by Steve Jenkins. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0618507647
2. Plot Summary:
Teaming up yet again, Steve Jenkins and Robin Page create a delightful book about animals in their habitats. Each page represents an area of the world and the animals that inhabit that region. Through bright, colorful illustrations, children can discover a variety of animals and how they live. There is even a more detailed description of each animal listed at the end of the book. Students will enjoy finding a hidden ant on each page.
3. Critical Analysis:
Jenkins and Page have integrated a unique feature into each page of this book about animals in their natural habitats. Camouflaged in the beautiful and vibrant collage illustrations, animals are hidden in their surroundings. Along with the animals native to that region, the authors place an ant into each of the environments because they say, “There are thousands of different kinds of ants. They live almost everywhere on earth and can be found in each of the habitats shown in this book. Along with the eight animals in each picture, there is an ant—somewhere. Can you see it?” Six different parts of the world are shown, and each habitat includes eight animals, which may at first be difficult to spot. Children will enjoy trying to name and find the hidden animals. The pattern of “I see…” is repeated throughout to encourage readers to look for indigenous animals to that region. (“In the desert I see….) Turn the page and the hidden animals are uncovered against a white background and finish the sentence with appropriate nouns, verbs and adjectives (…a kangaroo rat bounding over the sand). The elusive ant is also exposed! Charming and lively, this approach also informs and describes the animals and their biomes in an accurate, distinct way. Lengthier notes on all the environments are placed at the end of the book with a map of the habitats as they are located in the world. Additional readings are provided for enthusiastic readers interested in more information. This dynamic, captivating book encourages critical thinking and influences readers to take a closer look at the world around them.
4. Review Excerpts:
Reviewed in KIRKUS. “While the animals have the lush, textured look one associates with Jenkins's work, the habitats are much less well-developed, resulting in a flatness and skewing of perspective that distorts the relative sizes of the animals shown. Unfortunate.”
Reviewed in HORNBOOK. “In an appealing game of hide-and-seek, readers look at one of eight different habitats with glimpses of animals. Turn the page, and the plants and rocks are gone, revealing the animals. The lush cut-paper illustrations invite detailed scrutiny, but the plants seem to be more of a nuisance than critical components of the ecosystems. Nevertheless, readers will be attracted to this handsome book.”
Reviewed in BOOKLIST. “The animal illustrations are reprised in miniature at the close of the book, each one presented with brief facts in tiny type, which are apparently directed to adults or older kids sharing the book with young children. Further readings and a small map round out the text. The bright and playful design will attract an enthusiastic audience.”
Other books by Steve Jenkins:
ALMOST GONE: THE WORLD’S RAREST ANIMALS ISBN 0-06-053598-9
DOGS AND CATS ISBN 0-618-50767-1
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A TAIL LIKE THIS? ISBN 0-618-25628-8
Wick, Walter. I SPY MYSTERY: A BOOK OF PICTURE RIDDLES. ISBN 0-590-46294-6
Relf, Patricia. THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS HOPS HOME: A BOOK ABOUT ANIMAL HABITATS ISBN 0-590-48413-3
*Student can create their own camouflaged animals in habitats and see if others can find them.
*Allow students to write their own “In the _________ I see….” Modeling the sentence structure found in the text.
*Research endangered animals and study their habitats. Discover why they have become endangered or extinct.
*Find information about a Kookaburra and other Australian animals.
*Visit a local zoo to find other animals listed in the books.