A solid introduction to African elephants, with engaging photographs.

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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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An appealing, attractive, and accessible introduction to endangered sea turtles.

RUN, SEA TURTLE, RUN

A HATCHLING'S JOURNEY

The most fascinating part of this simple photo essay is the last statement made by the narrator, a baby leatherback sea turtle: “Someday I will come back to this same beach. I will lay eggs of my own.”

Although further explained in the backmatter (written for adults), this promise omits the fact that these turtles often travel 10,000 miles per year. As the main audience of this engaging description of leatherback sea turtles is very young children, and the book has a specific focus on the first days of life, the author sticks to a few details about the physical activities undertaken by the hatchling as she makes her way from the buried nest on a beach to the nearby sea. Readers might want to know where this beach is and where these turtles can be found, information not provided beyond the general statement that “They live in all of the world’s oceans.” This is not strictly true, as they are not found in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. These quibbles aside, the easy-to-read text in clear type on blue backgrounds combines with Feuillet’s large photographs (often close-ups) to give readers a step-by-step account of the new turtle’s emergence from the egg to the top of the nest, across the beach, to the water: “WATCH ME RUN!”

An appealing, attractive, and accessible introduction to endangered sea turtles. (further information, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7812-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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