Monday, October 2, 2017

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do

(Image from Amazon)

Title: Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do
Author: Steve Jenkins
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright Date: 2014
Age Range: 4-7 years old
Lexile Level: 650


This book is all about animals. Each page features a different, uniquely illustrated, animal who is asked a question about their features. The animal then replies why they look the way they look to the audience. This allows children to have fun while learning, which is a great feature for a nonfiction book to have.  

(Images from Pinterest and JuniorLibraryGuild)

Great read aloud features:
  • This book would be a great read aloud book to a group of preschoolers or kindergartners at a library or school. The reader can use funny voices for the animals to keep the children entertained and amused throughout the storytime.
  • It will introduce children to new animals they may never have heard of: barirusa, red fan parrot, axolotl, etc.  
  • The illustrations are bright, colorful and unique.
  • The reader will be able to ask the audience why they think the animals do the things they do…you might get some creative and funny responses from the children!


Boys and girls who love animals will love this book. They will be able to learn fun and exciting facts about animals and they will be able to enjoy reading the book with different voices for each animal in the book. If being read to, the reader can entertain them with the different voices.

Read alikes:

Actual Size by: Steve Jenkins
This incredible book by the same author allows children to get an up close examination of the animals included in the book. Children will be able to compare their hand to the hand of a gorilla or their head to the head of an Alaskan brown bear.

Living Color by: Steve Jenkins
This is another book by Jenkins, and will allow children to learn their colors and the different types of animals with those colors. The illustrations are very bright and clear and children will be able clearly see them even in a large group.

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents by: Lita Judge
This book will be enjoyed by children who like animals and they will be able to see and learn new facts about the baby animals of the world.


The following website describes author, Steve Jenkins, process for making this book. It is very interesting, he discusses: concept, research, sketches, text, illustrations, designs, production and the final book.


  1. Okay, i totally love this book and i haven't read it. It sounds like the perfect book for a library story time. I can envision the kids reading the story and then making their own creatures using paper plates, markers, stickers, pipe-cleaners, etc. Sounds like a blast. I also think there is a real fascination with animals that comes to light when kids play. This book encourages imagination and still teaches. I love it!

  2. Hi Kate,
    Great choice, review, and read alikes. I liked Emily's art idea, but you could also use torn paper collage.