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BABY ELEPHANT JOINS THE HERD

A solid introduction to African elephants, with engaging photographs.

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. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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HELLO AUTUMN!

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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HELLO WINTER!

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer.

Rotner follows up her celebrations of spring and autumn with this look at all things winter.

Beginning with the signs that winter is coming—bare trees, shorter days, colder temperatures—Rotner eases readers into the season. People light fires and sing songs on the solstice, trees and plants stop growing, and shadows grow long. Ice starts to form on bodies of water and windows. When the snow flies, the fun begins—bundle up and then build forts, make snowballs and snowmen (with eyebrows!), sled, ski (nordic is pictured), skate, snowshoe, snowboard, drink hot chocolate. Animals adapt to the cold as well. “Birds grow more feathers” (there’s nothing about fluffing and air insulation) and mammals, more hair. They have to search for food, and Rotner discusses how many make or find shelter, slow down, hibernate, or go underground or underwater to stay warm. One page talks about celebrating holidays with lights and decorations. The photos show a lit menorah, an outdoor deciduous tree covered in huge Christmas bulbs, a girl next to a Chinese dragon head, a boy with lit luminarias, and some fireworks. The final spread shows signs of the season’s shift to spring. Rotner’s photos, as always, are a big draw. The children are a marvelous mix of cultures and races, and all show their clear delight with winter.

A solid addition to Rotner’s seasonal series. Bring on summer. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3976-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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