The Horn Book website has lots of material of interest to teachers. Here are some areas to explore. And follow us on Twitter: #lollysclass

Common Core State Standards

Interviews with authors and illustrators

Recommended books -- reviews and themed book lists

Book app reviews

Movie reviews

School -- reading in school, author visits, and more

Blogger bios

Suggestion box: what else to you want to see in Lolly's Classroom?

Actual Size | Class #4, 2016

Actual SizeWe are reading four information books for our next class, all picture books but for various ages.

Steve Jenkins's Actual Size could be read with very young children or with older ones depending on how you choose to share it. There is basic information in large type and details for older children in smaller type. The information at the end provides more information for the adults who may need to field some difficult questions from kids.

What affect does the collage illustration have? Was this a good choice to illustrate this book? I've heard about teachers doing some creative classroom projects using this book as a springboard. I'd love to hear if any of you have ideas to share.

Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is a freelance designer and consultant with degrees in studio art and children’s literature. She is the former creative director for The Horn Book, Inc., and has taught children’s literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogged for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.


Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

Ken Hagberg

Just like others, this book was awesome to interact with! I really enjoyed twisting it around and holding it up for comparison to myself and random people around me in Gutman. I actually found such limited text to be much more engaging and the interesting composition of the illustrations kept me looking at them longer than I otherwise would have. This book would be great for my ELL learners as it is accessible at different reading levels and provides plenty of discussion and teaching points for each. Cool book, will definitely add to library.

Posted : Apr 21, 2016 05:46

Annie Kleiman

Very cool concept and great execution. This book generates more questions than it answers, which is great for sparking curiosity. I really enjoyed how it encourages more interaction with the book than the typical actions of reading the text and looking at the pictures.

Posted : Apr 19, 2016 11:29

Addie Webb

I truly loved reading this book and so wish I had known about it when I was teaching second grade, as I'm sure my students would have been just as mesmerized! Conceptualizing an animal's physical size based only on measurements or statistics is extremely difficult for adults let alone for children. Even photographs often don't do a species justice, as it is difficult to perceive the scale and relative size of the animals being portrayed. I thought "Actual Size" did a superb job of bringing animals to life in a way that is relatable for children and adults who may have never encountered anything similar. Even those animals that were far too large to portray in their entirety, such as the African Elephant, were displayed in a way that allows readers to internalize their enormity. Showing just the elephant's foot (as it took up a full two pages) was ingenious!

Posted : Apr 19, 2016 11:23

Soujanya Ganig

Like Kara and Megan, I too enjoyed interacting with the book! It was a first of its kind book I was reading and I thought the whole idea of showing animals in actual size was a great idea. I was wondering if this method of showing animals this way is better than the animation method where they are shown in skewed proportions.  I thought this portrayal makes the animal more real and more alive. Interacting with this book could be the first time many young readers are learning about these animals. This real portrayal may make the children feel more connected to the animals, help build empathy and not see them as the other.

Posted : Apr 19, 2016 06:28

Kaitlin Herbert

I really enjoyed reading "Actual Size" by Steve Jenkins. Having read "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?" with my first graders during our animal adaptations science unit, I found "Actual Size" to be just as engaging! The collage illustrations really made the images appear almost 3D and physically jump off the page. As an adult learner, I found myself continually turning to the informational section in the back to learn more information about animals I didn't know (i.e. who know alligators were the #1 animal killers of humans?!). I can imagine this book being an excellent spring board for students to delve into more specific research on an animal that catches their interest.

Posted : Apr 19, 2016 04:28

View More Comments


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more