A true homage to these wondrous creatures.


Young humpback whales have much in common with human children.

A very young child describes the life of a mother humpback whale and her calf and how it mirrors their own. The whale mother keeps her baby safe so it can grow and learn, as does the narrator’s own human mother. Both mothers care for their offspring with great tenderness and love. As the child and the baby whale grow bigger and stronger, they can do more things on their own. Both youngsters find excitement jumping and diving in the water. There are many more similarities. Blowing a plume matches blowing bubbles, and both can shout and sing. The whale and the child can cuddle with their moms as they fall asleep to dream of their shared worlds. The child describes the whale’s actions as if speaking directly to the creature, employing lovely, soaring language that reflects great admiration and wonder for all humpback whales. The child narrates their own actions more simply, with joy and excitement at growing stronger and more able. As each of the whales’ life experiences is followed by the child’s comparison, Kikuchi’s illustrations match the same pattern. The whales are shown in their home environment in the vastness of the blue sea while the child is seen on shore in the brightness of the sun. These whales are shown accurately, with fins, flukes, knobs, and mouths in correct proportion and the beauty of their movements honored. Child and mother have olive skin and straight, black hair.

A true homage to these wondrous creatures. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77164-573-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.



Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.


The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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