Best of Children's 2010 - Books About Animals


View the Complete List of Best of Children's 2010 - Books About Animals


2010 Children's Best: Ubiquitous, by Joyce Sidman

by Erika Rohrbach on November 15, 2010 | Children's

From this Caldecott Honor–winning duo (Song of the Water Boatman, 2005) comes another breathtaking picture book eight years in the making in large part due to its 4.6 billion-year-old subject—Earth and its hardiest creatures. Asked how a discussion of beetle wings with her biologist sister led to this brilliant evolutionary timeline of Earth’s survivors, ranging from 3.8 billion-year-old bacteria to mere 100,000-year-old humans, Joyce Sidman says that “the Big Question that led to the book was: Why do some organisms thrive while others die out?” Beckie Prange’s arresting hand-watercolored

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2010 Children's Best: Mad at Mommy, by Komako Sakai

by Jenny Brown on November 15, 2010 | Children's

The creator of The Snow Day (2009), which explored a preschooler’s pining to experience the pleasures of new-fallen snow, here taps into the contradictory feelings of a young rabbit with a strong bond to Mommy even through those first assertions of independence. Once again, a slightly downturned mouth and tilt of the ears ingeniously serve as indicators of the youngster’s shifting moods. Through a series of panel illustrations and full-bleed, sometimes wordless spreads, readers gradually learn what’s at the root of the protagonist’s anger. “Komako Sakai gives voice to the desires . . .

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2010 Children's Best: Binky to the Rescue, by Ashley Spires

by Jenny Brown on November 15, 2010 | Children's

Of this sly feline’s debut in Binky the Space Cat (2009) Kirkus wrote in a starred review, “Spires’s mix of sly, dry and slapstick humor in her first graphic novel is perfect.” In this new adventure, Binky and Ted fall into “OUTER SPACE!” Children will savor knowing that Binky and his stuffed mousie have simply tumbled outdoors, but that doesn’t lessen the threat of a bee hive (aka “an alien warship”)—especially after Binky and Ted become separated. “Anyone who has lived with a cat knows that there are a lot of things going on in their lives that we humans aren’t privy to,” says . . .

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2010 Children's Best: Art & Max, by David Wiesner

by Jenny Brown on November 15, 2010 | Children's
Max, a garden-variety lizard, asks Art, a horned lizard, what he should paint. Art tells Max that he may paint him (Art), never dreaming that Max would take a brush to Art’s own scaly skin! Art busts out of Max’s paint and there, beneath, are…pastels. Are there more layers to Art? All the previous books by the three-time Caldecott Medalist were rendered in watercolor, and David Wiesner wanted to do something different. “I thought about what other media I could use—acrylics, pastel, ink line,” he says. “Suddenly, I saw a narrative involving all those media in which one character is deconstructed.

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2010 Children's Best: A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip C. Stead

by Peter Lewis on November 15, 2010 | Children's

Amos McGee may be a geezer, but he’s a content one—serene, if a bit pensive. Amos is a zookeeper and a friend to his charges. He plays chess with the elephant, sits quietly with the shy penguin and ministers to the nasal products of the rhinoceros’ allergies. When he must stay home one day with the sniffles, his chums take the bus to his residence and do unto him, in sweet reciprocation, what he has done unto them. The story is pared down to Zen simplicity, as friendship ought to be. In counterpoint, the artwork wows. The woodblock foundations carry forward the

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Saving the Kakapo

by Jessie Grearson on November 15, 2010 | Children's

Sy Montgomery has written many award-winning books for readers of all ages, including the international bestselling memoir, The Good Good Pig (2006). With photographer Nic Bishop, she’s contributed to the Scientists in the Field series, garnering two Sibert Honor recognitions, for The Tarantula Scientist (2004) and Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (2006). Their most recent collaboration recounts the dramatic, often-heartbreaking efforts to save New Zealand’s tame, flightless, oversized parrots—the kakapo. Here, Montgomery discusses their book Kakapo Rescue.

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Bunny Days: ‘Hapless Humor and Total Charm’

by Vicky Smith on November 15, 2010 | Children's

One of the most offbeat and winning picture books of 2010, Bunny Days chronicles the misadventures of a flock of bunnies that lives on Mr. and Mrs. Goat’s farm. They by turn get splattered with mud, are sucked up into a vacuum cleaner and find their cottony tails lopped off! Tragedy? Not at all, not when Bear is around: He always “knows just what to do.” He pops them in the washing machine and hangs them out to dry, unzips the vacuum cleaner bag and blows the dust off the bunnies (and fixes Mrs. Goat’s vacuum) and re-attaches the bunny tails—“very gentl[y]”—with an old sewing machine.

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Saving the Chiru

by Andrea Hoag on November 15, 2010 | Children's

Chiru, small, sheep-like animals in Tibet, have a unique plight—they cannot be shorn to use their luxurious wool, but must be slaughtered instead. In this arresting picture book, The Chiru of High Tibet, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Linda Wingerter handle this delicate topic with much care. Their lyrical text and ethereal illustrations chronicle the work of conservationist George Schaller, the first of several men whose heroism saved the species from poaching. Here, Martin talks about the bravery at the heart of this story.

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2010 Children's Best: Hamster and Cheese, by Colleen AF Venable

by Peter Lewis on November 15, 2010 | Children's
Colleen A.F. Venable’s electrically charged comic-book story features Mr. Venezi, a pet-store owner who can’t tell a llama from a finch. But he does know his sandwich goes missing every day, and he will banish the koalas if it happens again. The koalas are actually hamsters, and they recruit a guinea pig to investigate (the “G” has fallen off her nameplate, ergo “PI”—private investigator). Sasspants the PI solves the mystery but not without much zany, motor-mouthed “assistance” from the resident camels, walruses and sloths—or whatever. “While classmates created Imaginary friends, I created an imaginary hamster,” says Venable. “If anything went wrong, it wasn’t my fault—it was his. The book-version hamster is me in third grade: obsessed with mysteries, superoutgoing and over-the-top hyperactive. Mom believed my hyperness was a gift not a problem, especially if you gave me pen and paper.” The sequel, And Then There Were Gnomes, is just as funny.

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