A solid introduction to African elephants, with engaging photographs.

BABY ELEPHANT JOINS THE HERD

Numerous full-color photographs ostensibly follow the life of one African elephant from her first day on Earth to her 15th birthday—with plenty of basic elephant facts in between.

“On a hot day in the African savannah, a baby elephant is born.” The initial sentence suitably trumpets its announcement with a bold, white “O” and the rest of the lettering in large black type. The text continues by interspersing the movements of this particular elephant—a female—with such facts as the weight of a typical newborn (“about 200 pounds”), the amount of time elapsing before baby’s first step (generally “a couple hours” after birth), and the ways in which elephants greet their babies and then protect them. Herd composition, social order, eating, drinking, and other habits, as well as, of course, facts about elephants’ trunks, are all covered in accessible language. There are at least six impressively large numbers incorporated into these facts, and none give a comparison to help young readers understand why those numbers are impressive. A child can readily compare their weight to a 200-pound baby elephant, but, for example, how do 50,000 muscles in a trunk compare with a human nose plus a hand? And what does 300 pounds of food look like? The stock photographs are beautiful and exciting—and often heartwarming—and the layout, in white-framed boxes with text against pastel backgrounds, is appealing.

A solid introduction to African elephants, with engaging photographs. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3212-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one.

MY FIRST KITTEN

From the My First series

Kitten care presented early-reader style.

“Something soft and furry / Is coming home with me. // It is my new kitten. / She is as sweet as can be!” First-person, easy-reading text describes meeting the kitten, feeding the kitten, playing with the kitten, then taking it to the vet and keeping it safe. The first half of this volume is presented in rhyme with Wachter's photos of real children of various races and their kittens (always the same kitten-and-child pairings) imposed on simple cartoon backgrounds. On other pages, photos of kittens (all cute as the dickens) leaping, scratching, running, and sleeping appear against similar backgrounds. The second half reiterates the same information but in more detail. It passes on instructions in simple language for tasks like introducing a kitten to its litter box and interpreting the sounds and body language of your new furry friend. Jumping the species barrier, Biscuit creator Capucilli does a fine job of instructing young, new pet owners in the care of their wee feline friends in this companion to My First Puppy (2019). This helpful guidebook ends with a message encouraging aspiring young pet friends to adopt from shelters. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85.7% of actual size.)

Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7754-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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