Reviews /

Lifesize Deadly Animals

Authored by Sophy Henn
Illustrated by Sophy Henn
Published by HarperCollins Publishers

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Lifesize Deadly Animals is the latest book in the series by the talented and versatile author and illustrator, Sophy Henn. Readers will instantly be on high alert from the moment they pick up this book with its vivid red, white and blue colours on the front cover and the menacingly sharp teeth of the great white shark. ‘Are you feeling brave?’ Sophy Henn asks and invites the reader to join her to meet some of the deadliest creatures known to man. Sophie Henn’s writing style has just the right mix of conversational and informative. She has a warm and friendly tone which makes the reader feel as if they are chatting to a friend. She poses questions throughout which add to the reader’s ability to interact with the text.

What makes this series unique is the LIFESIZE aspect of the illustrations. This really supports the reader to build a mental image of the size of animals that they are unlikely to ever encounter. There is scope for lots of comparative talk, for example when looking at the paw of a cheetah you can compare it with the size of your own hand and other animals. The black caiman alligator’s jaws cover a double page spread! You may like to wonder what would fit in those jaws – would you put your head in there? I love the spread which shows a lifesize Burmese python curled around with its mouth open wide and the lion’s lifesize ferocious tongue. The final pages show the size of deadly animals related to copies of the book.

This is a book which will bring great joy to readers of all ages. It has the potential to be a book that children read socially in pairs or small groups being wowed by the lifesize details. I would also choose to read this aloud over several days, dipping in and sharing selected pages. It has obvious connections with learning about animals linked to the science curriculum and also to using mathematical vocabulary in context. It is a book that conveys a great deal of information in a very engaging and pleasurable way. Highly recommended for readers of all ages but especially six- to eight-year-olds.

Shortlisted for the English 4-11 Picture Book Award 2024 Non-fiction 4-7 Category