Lifesize deadly animals by Sophie Henn

cover image

The title page has a pair of lifesize talons greeting the reader and a brief description of the eagle to which they belong, the most dangerous eagle in the world. So starts this powerful and mesmerising book showing a range of dangerous animals in life size. We are told to look out.

Turning the page, we find the paw of a cheetah, the fastest animal in the world, but not the most successful predator. Why? Turning the page we find just which animals are described in that way and it is certainly not the ones readers will expect. Over the page is an alligator and we are told about its jaws and bite, but it cannot chew. So how does it eat?

Over again, we find electric eels, bullet ants and blue dart frogs, each most successful predators. Turning the book on its side we are introduced to the Bengal Loris, a deadly creature which lives in trees, using a gland in its armpit to produce flesh rotting venom. What a skill!

Chinese Bengal lorises, Malayan porcupines, tigers from South China, a Chinese bird spider, Burmese python, leopards, Malaysian sun bears, and lions are included in this lot of land based animals, the life sized close up of some making readers pull back with surprise. Each is given a place on the earth where they can be found, a name and a few facts about what they live on and how they catch their prey. Kids will love it. Then the book turns its focus to the oceans, and by now, kids will have begun thinking about the nasties that live there. This double page includes a shark, of course, as well as box jellyfish, spotted porcupine fish, and cone snail.

Each page is colourful and informative, the illustrations matching the text to perfection. Some images are life size, some not but still give a little frisson of concern. Younger readers will love scaring each other with the fascinating facts and powerful illustrators.

The book invites readers to assess how they would stand up to these deadly animals, and the last double page shows readers how big some of the animals presented are. An informative introduction by the author, particularly about sharks, and be found here

There are three others in this Lifesize series, Lifesize Baby Animals, Lifesize creepy crawlies and Lifesize Dinosaurs.

Themes: Size, Venomous creatures, Python, Sharks.

Fran Knight