An obvious choice for animal-focused storytimes, but it’s no match for the baby animal titles by wildlife photographer Suzi...

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BABY PANDA CHEWS BAMBOO

From the First Discoveries series

A panda cub’s childhood documented with photographs and a simple text.

This latest addition to the First Discoveries series from the American Museum of Natural History offers irresistible images of young panda cubs, from the helpless, pinkish newborn to independence a few months after the first birthday. Like earlier series titles about penguins, wolves, and dolphins, this is essentially an album of photographs culled from varied sources and strung together in a chronological text that follows the animal as it grows up. Each double-page spread has one or several photographs, accompanied by a paragraph or two of relatively simple text describing the cub’s behavior—in particular, its feeding habits. Readers and listeners will come away with important information about pandas, but it is the close-up photographs that steal the show. Although the animals pictured are likely different, they look alike; readers will probably assume they are following a single animal’s journey, especially since information about the images is limited to a list of credits on the copyright page. The book concludes with a message from “the expert,” Angelo Soto-Centeno, a bat specialist at the museum.

An obvious choice for animal-focused storytimes, but it’s no match for the baby animal titles by wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas, which do focus on specific animals. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2740-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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