January 15, 2015
Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins
Eye to Eye:
How Animals See the World
by Steve Jenkins
If you have a young reader who is animal crazy, pick this book up! Not only will your critter enthusiast meet a wide variety of animals, ranging from ghost crabs and gharial to tuatara to tarsier, she will also learn something about the science of vision.
Jenkins doesn’t cover the differences between how predators and prey see the world, he starts out with eyespots and the fact that they tell only the difference between darkness and light. He explains how pinhole eyes work and the fact that seawater flows freely in and out of the creature’s eye but also the difference between a primitive lens eye and a camera eye.
Different types of eyes evolved because different animals need to see different things and Jenkins goes into this in detail.
He accomplishes the vast majority of this by profiling individual animals. In the profile of the blue mountain swallowtail butterfly, readers learn about the insect’s ability to see ultraviolet colors invisible to humans as well as the benefits of a compound eye. The green pit viper reveals the benefits of the pits that allow it to “see” body heat and much, much more.
As always, Jenkins has illustrated his book with collages that combine both cut and torn paper using individual pieces to create everything from the tentacles of the nautilus to the whiskers on a fluffy housecat.
The backmatter for the book gives detailed information on the different types of eyes as well as the 24 animals depicted in the book. There is also an age-appropriate bibiography for young readers who want more information on the topic.
Although a preschool reader might not be interested in the details about how different eyes work, they would be hooked by the illustrations and the wide range of animals. Older readers would take this in as well as the science of the eye.
Share this book with your class or your animal-engaged reader and don’t be surprised if you have to read the book multiple times.