“If you’re a lizard, you break off your tail to get away. If you’re a scorpion, your tail can give a nasty sting.”
So goes Steve Jenkin’s and Robin Page’s Caldecott Honor Book “What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?”
This book involves children in a guessing game. First there’s a two-page spread with an assortment of animal parts — noses, for example — and a question: “What do you do with a nose like this?” Children can guess which nose belongs to which animal, as well as what the animals use their noses for, before turning the page. The next two-page spread reveals, concisely, how the various animals use their uniquely shaped noses.
For older children, there’s a section in the back where they can learn even more about the animals in the book, including habitats, size and more.
In my humble opinion, author/illustrator Steve Jenkins is one of the most talented humans around. His paper collages are so full of texture, they almost jump off the page. Steve, a father to three children, has a fascinating section on his Web site titled “Making Books” where he explains his creative process. And his process, as he explains it, often starts with questions from his own curious kids.