First published in Spain, this entry from Llamas Ruiz (Seasons, p. 464) in the Cycles of Life series explores the concept and process of metamorphosis primarily through a focus on the growth and development of frogs, butterflies, and dragonflies. In a metamorphosis-made-easy approach, colorfully illustrated spreads cover courtship rituals, the laying of eggs, emergence from the eggs, and newly hatched creatures who are vastly different from their parents. The complete process can be viewed for tadpoles, caterpillars, and larvae of dragonflies, while moths, mosquitoes, flat fish, newts, and salamanders get passing coverage. A body of text explains each stage in general terms; captions are used for the details of particular creatures. While the presentation is attractive and eye-catching, the arrangement of material is choppy. In order to make parallel the stages and similarities of various animals that undergo metamorphosis, the step-by-step presentations of the individual frog, butterfly, and dragonfly are broken up; readers seeking information on a particular animal will have to jump back and forth. The layout is a bit confusing in places—captions aren't easily matched to the illustrations, and one—about butterflies mating—stops mid-word. Difficult words—amplexus, pheromones, ocelli, neoteny—are explained either in context or in a short glossary, but not consistently. Nevertheless, the dramatic transformations from larvae to insect or tadpole to frog will be of interest to budding biologists. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8069-9325-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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McDonald’s irrepressible third-grader (Judy Moody Gets Famous, 2001, etc.) takes a few false steps before hitting full stride. This time, not only has her genius little brother Stink submitted a competing entry in the Crazy Strips Band-Aid design contest, but in the wake of her science teacher’s heads-up about rainforest destruction and endangered animals, she sees every member of her family using rainforest products. It’s all more than enough to put her in a Mood, which gets her in trouble at home for letting Stink’s pet toad, Toady, go free, and at school for surreptitiously collecting all the pencils (made from rainforest cedar) in class. And to top it off, Stink’s Crazy Strips entry wins a prize, while she gets . . . a certificate. Chronicled amusingly in Reynolds’s frequent ink-and-tea drawings, Judy goes from pillar to post—but she justifies the pencil caper convincingly enough to spark a bottle drive that nets her and her classmates not only a hundred seedling trees for Costa Rica, but the coveted school Giraffe Award (given to those who stick their necks out), along with T-shirts and ice cream coupons. Judy’s growing corps of fans will crow “Rare!” right along with her. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7636-1446-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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