Children's Bookshelf: APEX PREDATORS

Nov 13, 2017

This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews APEX PREDATORS: The World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present, by Steve Jenkins. She says its a great book for children ages 6 to 9.


APEX PREDATORS: The World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins is a well-researched non- fiction book about “top dog” predators.  

Steve Jenkins has packed the book with interesting information and his stunning pictures. The modern apex predators featured include the Siberian tiger, the Komodo dragon, the great white shark, African wild dogs in a pack, the electric eel, the fossa and the giant freshwater ray.

Jenkins also gives the reader engaging facts about sixteen extinct killers. The Teratorn, extinct six million years ago, was the largest bird to ever fly with a wingspan of 23 feet! Daedon, extinct 18 million years ago, was known as “the killer pig.”  Each picture also includes a diagram to scale for each predator that compares the predator’s size to the size of man.

The back material includes a speculation about which would win the day if a modern apex predator such as the great white shark got into a fight with the Tylosaurus, a huge ancient fish covered with plates.

The author-illustrator also offers a thoughtful note about humans, the deadliest predator of all. We’ve invented weapons more powerful than those of any creature.”

APEX PREDATORS: The World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins is a fascinating book for 6-9 year olds (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). 

Questions and Activities for APEX PREDATORS

Review the written information in this book about the extinct apex predators and find and identify:

  • The largest jaw
  • The bird that could not fly
  • The reptile that could fly
  • The ancestor of the modern hippo
  • The smallest extinct creature
  • A 48-foot predator that dined on crocodiles
  • The ancestor of the modern kangaroo
  • An ancient fish that wore armor
  • A predator with a killing claw
  • The two longest apex predators

Which modern day apex predator is called a perfect killing machine? Why?  Where are these “killing machines” found. Do some research, gather more information about them and design a warning sign that could be posted for humans in danger areas. Use both words and pictures on your sign.

Study the fine illustrations in this book. Which face of the apex predators is the most threatening for you? Why? Which is the funniest face? Why? Make your own drawing of one of these predators. Have fun.