March 3 -World Wildlife Day

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins Picture Book Review

About the Holiday  

Sponsored by the United Nations, World Wildlife Day celebrates the many varieties of wild animals and plants that make up our earth. It is also a day to raise awareness of the ways in which conservation of natural resources and sustainable development benefits people and all the world’s species. The theme this year is “The future of wildlife is in our hands.” African and Asian elephants are the main focus of the 2016 global campaigns.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says: “On this World Wildlife Day, I call on all citizens, businesses and governments to play their part in protecting the world’s wild animals and plants.  The actions taken by each of us will determine the fate of the world’s wildlife.  The future of wildlife is in our hands!”

For more information on World Wildlife Day 2016 and to see what events are taking place in cities around the world visit

Actual Size

By Steve Jenkins


We know wildlife is all around us, but apart from our pets and the occasional mosquito we swat or bumble bee we avoid, we tend to see it from a distance. We watch birds flutter at feeders through a window, we see exotic animals at the zoo, aquarium, or wildlife parks, and point out cows and horses while driving. If asked how big the chickadee or elephant is, we’d say small and huge! But how small? How huge?

What makes Steve Jenkins’ book Actual Size so fascinating is that he shows readers on the page exactly how big or how tiny with scale drawings of each creature. The Atlas Moth on page 1 is so large part of one wing dips into page 2, where you hardly notice the dwarf goby—at a minuscule 1/3 inch long—in the bottom corner. As you turn the page you almost catch your breath to find the enormous 12-inch-wide eye of a giant squid staring back at you.

An ostrich with its egg and the whip-like tongue of the giant anteater are also here. And if you’re at all squeamish about spiders, you might want to avoid pages 12 and 13! The snout of the saltwater crocodile and the Goliath frog are both so long that they require a fold-out page! Kids will love putting their tiny hand against the gorilla’s and their foot on the African elephant’s.

Actual Size features 18 of the world’s well-known and unusual creatures, each described in more detail, including weight, habitat, diet, behavior, defenses, and more, at the end of the book.

Steve Jenkins’ striking collages, created from cut and torn paper, beckon readers to look closer at these awesome creatures.

Ages 4 – 9

Houghton Mifflin Books, 2004 | ISBN 978-0547512914

World Wildlife Day Activity

CPB - Wildlife Day Elephant Print (2)

Hands Down Best Elephant Print


A way to make the cutest elephant print ever is right in your hands! With a little paint and paper, you can create a wildlife print that’s as unique as you are. This is a fun activity to do with a child and parent or two siblings. Working with different size hands can make your print more interesting.


  • Paper, any color
  • Paint, any color you would like your elephants to be
  • Paint brush
  • Black marker


In this print your palm creates the body of the elephant, your four fingers create the legs, and your thumb becomes the trunk.

1. Make the right-facing elephant:

  • Paint your left hand. Make sure to fill in all the creases on your palm and fingers.
  • Press your hand onto the left side of the piece of paper

 2. Make the left-facing elephant:

  • Paint your right hand. Make sure to fill in all the creases on your palm and fingers.
  • Place your hand on the right side of the paper so that your thumb touches the end of the thumb on the left hand print. Press your hand onto the right side of the piece of paper

3. You can fill in any thin or open spaces with the paintbrush if you like

4. Let the handprints dry

5. Turn the page so that the four fingers that create the legs of the elephant are facing down.

6. Draw a dot for an eye at the base of the thumb, an ear in the palm, and a tail at the back of the hand.

7.  To make the sun, dip your thumb in yellow paint and press it into the corner of the paper. Make little rays with the edge of the paintbrush.

8. Hang your print with or without a frame.

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