Biggest, Fastest, Strongest is an old favorite.
This book by Steve Jenkins appeals to the young child’s fascination with extremes. The fourteen representatives of the animal kingdom included in the book occupy the ends of the continuum in size, strength, speed and longevity. In richly textured paper cutouts, the animals are portrayed with visual appeal and scientific accuracy. Children of many different ages are fascinated by the information in this book!
What makes this book particularly popular is that it works on many different levels. For the preschooler, there is one simple sentence about the animal. “The sun jellyfish is the world’s longest animal.” For children with a longer attention span and a desire for more knowledge, there are two or three additional facts in smaller font. “Sun jellyfish have tentacles over 200 feet long. They drag these poisonous filaments through the water to stun fish, which they then catch and eat.” Each page also has a small diagram of the animal next to an object of comparison, most often a human body or a human hand. This is a compelling point of reference for even very young children. Disregard the mathematical concept of 200 feet, and simply marvel at how tiny a person is next to a sun jellyfish! Biggest, Strongest, Fastest is an accessible, appealing collection of record holders in the animal kingdom.
Biggest, Strongest, Fastest is my favorite book by Steve Jenkins, but you’ll definitely want to check out the other non-fiction books he’s written.