Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

Actual Size is an amazing children's book full of striking paper collages that depict 18 animals--or just a body part--in its "actual size". For example, a tiny dwarf gobi fish (only 1/3 inch big) is powerfully depicted right next to a huge atlas moth which has a 12" wingspan!  Even more powerfully, a double page spread covers just the eyeball of a 59 foot long giant squid! 

This book has won MANY awards, including:
-NCTE Orbis Pictus Non-Fiction Honor Book
-Int'l Reading Assoc Children's Choices 2005
-Booklist Editor's Choice Children's Book
-NY Public Library 100 Titles for Sharing
-ALA Top 10 Sci-Tech Books for Youth 2004

And if you like this book, be sure to check out Prehistoric Actual Size, which follows the same premise but features prehistoric creatures. To learn more about the book, click the title.

Interest Level:  PreSchool - Grade 5         DRA Level: 28
Reading Level: age 4-8                             Lexile Measure: 1080L

See Inside Actual Size

Below are two spreads from inside this book. Remember--the premise of the book is that animals (or animal parts) are shown in actual size. Now imagine these spreads are book size (in this case, an inch high and 2 inches wide!)  When your students see the book version of the first spread, for instance, they will get a fascinating insight into how the animals really are!

Lesson Idea: Measuring Animals

This is a fun book to use when teaching students how to measure things! Give each student one a ruler and have one tape measure that you will use together as a class. Start by measuring hands, feet, finger, etc as practice--each student using his or her own ruler. Then, go through the book, and for each animal, say aloud the length and use the ruler or the tape measure to see how big or small it is. When you say the height/length of an animal [provided by the book], have the students look at their ruler and figure out if they can measure it with that ruler or not. If it's bigger, then use the tape measure (as a class) and pull it out as long as the measurement for that animal is. Sometimes it's fun to share the measurement first, then show the picture so they can see how HUGE an elephants foot is, how tiny a dwarf goby fish is, etc... Your students will probably really enjoy this activity, and may even want to walk around the room measuring things after that. :)  And as a side note, the animals and specific facts that Jenkins selected for this book are really interesting!

Where to now?

Now that you've seen this great book, what would you like to see now?  Please note that as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

This is a great book, but if it's not exactly the book you are looking for, check out