This extravagant book by a French author/illustrator (and first published in France) contains handsome woodcuts of more than 300 animals, from aardvark to zebu, categorized by size, characteristics, and environment. Zoo-ology also has the distinction of being the biggest book I've ever reviewed. It came in its own box. You could make a very nice coffee table out of it. How kids will carry it home after they check it out of the library is interesting to consider. But, boy, do they love poring over the two dozen animals on each double-page spread.
The animals are sorted into 14 categories: Hot, Cold, Feathered, Horned, Freshwater, In the Seas, In the Trees, Underground, On the Seabed, At Night, Black and White, Spots and Stripes, Large and Small, and Close to Us All. Note that some of the adjoining categories seem to rhyme. All of the animals represented are labeled by name, though the woodcuts are not done in size proportion to each other. At the back of the book is an alphabetical glossary/index for each creature, telling a bit about it.
This is a book which will stimulate curiosity. Kids can pick animals they are curious about and visit the library to find new books to read about each one. And, of course, if you're thinking about categorization, you can start an interesting discussion. Cover each page's category and have your children figure out what all the animals on that page have in common. Talk about what other categories there could be, like Shells or Egg-Layers, or On the Wing. They'll also enjoy finding the chameleon camouflaged on each page.
THEMES: ANIMALS. SCIENCE & SCIENTISTS.
Roaring Brook Press, 2003
Suggested Ages: 3-8