Nonfiction Monday: Steve Jenkins

It’s been a busy 2010 for author, Steve JenkinsNever Smile at a Monkey, How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships, and Bones all hit the bookstores this year.  All three were nominated for the NFPB CYBILS award.

Never Smile at a Monkey and 17  Other Important Things to Remember

Have you ever wondered about collecting cone shells, smiling at a monkey, or petting a platypus?  If you have, you might put yourself in great danger as these animals along with others have developed ways to protect themselves.  Cone shells have poisonous barbs, smiling at a monkey is a sign of aggression, and a platypus has venomous spurs behind the feet.  But wait, there are fifteen other creatures that could harm you as well.  Readers of all ages will be fascinated by the many ways that animals protect themselves.  Jenkins includes more detailed information about the animals at the end of the books.  The torn and cut illustrations are vibrant and fun.

How to Clean a hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

This is a collaborative effort with Steve Jenkins and Robin Page which explores the symbiotic relationships of animals.  I enjoyed reading the step-by-step close-up look at the ways.  Did you know that the hippopotamus spends so much time in the water, algae and water plants cover the skin.  The African helmeted turtle helps to clean off the hippo and in return the hippo provide a spot on its back for the turtle to sun itself.

Readers will spend lots of time reading and re-reading about the different relationships.   Coyotes, plovers, crabs, badgers, giraffes, humans and dogs are some of the forty plus animals featured.  Again the illustrations are torn and cut paper collages.


This books reminds me of Actual Size by Jenkins. It’s bound to be a hit with those young scientists interested in skeletons in all varieties.  The bones, human to dinosaur, to bat and more are illustrated in a various scales. Readers will especially love the skulls page as the illustrations at actual size.  The book has an afterward with more information about bones, stories, and history.  Again, the amazing illustrations are done in cut collages.

All three of Jenkin’s will be excellent choices for the library and for readers of all ages interested in science. The detailed illustrations, the interesting facts, and the unusual topics will delight the scientist in us all.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Books Together.  Hop on over and see what awaits the world of nonfiction.

Happy Monday.  Happy Reading.