Best Foot Forward
written and photographed by Ingo Arndt
2013 (Holiday House)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Freelance photographer Ingo Arndt has created a fun book featuring different animal feet and how their design is helpful to the animal. Throughout the book, there are two page spreads with a large photograph accompanied by the question "Whose foot is this?". This sets up a discussion with young readers who can make predictions about the foot. On the following page appears the answer and a block of text that is like a heading for the featured four feet on the opposite page. For example, on the page titled "Feet That Walk", you see four very different feet used for walking and climbing. Arndt's photographs are given a caption that explains how these feet work and the important features on each foot. The long-horned beetle climbs tree trunks with hairs on its foot that allow it to stick to the trunk. Elephants surprisingly (at least to me) have soft, springy feet that cushion each giant step. Other categories include feet that climb, swim, dig, jump, and a section on extraordinary feet.
I think Best Foot Forward would be a great text to use when studying the human body. By looking at animal feet, we can appreciate our own feet and their incredible design. Think about our balance and the speed that is possible when we're not still eating holiday chocolate on January 14th, but I digress. If you are teaching nonfiction in a K-2 classroom, you should also find a copy of this book.