Lacking the perfect pairings of animal and behavior, this one just doesn’t stand out.

IF ANIMALS WENT TO SCHOOL

From the If Animals series

Paul and Walker continue their If Animals series with this look at animals attending school.

Just what would an all-animal school look like? How would students and teachers behave? Previous series outings each had their strengths and weaknesses, and this one, unfortunately, seems to combine all of the latter. While the array of fauna is a plus, the students are just labeled with the adult name—Beaver, Lemming, etc.—missing the opportunity to teach kids the names for animal young that made If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008) stand out. Worse, though, is the fact that many of the animals don’t stand out as exemplifying their behaviors, instead merely highlighting what happens at school: Elephant stacks cardboard blocks in a tower, Mouse plays with shapes, Bear “hog[s] the triangles,” and Beaver is the reluctant student whose parent drags him to school. “Fox would rush to the story nook, / and bark-bark, ‘Goat! Stop eating that book.’ ” Well, at least Goat is doing what goats often do, even if Fox is acting a lot more like a herd dog than a predator. Onomatopoeia is emphasized throughout, and young listeners will likely enjoy chiming in on the sound effects, though the rhythm and rhyme are inconsistent. Walker’s illustrations are softly colored and delightfully adorable.

Lacking the perfect pairings of animal and behavior, this one just doesn’t stand out. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30902-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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