Simple words and soft illustrations enhance a fact-based story of squirrels and oak trees.

READ REVIEW

SQUIRREL'S FAMILY TREE

This rhyming picture book tells the story of a squirrel’s activities and how they relate to the creation of oak trees.

A female squirrel gathers acorns in the fall, burying them beneath the ground in caches. When winter arrives, she holes up in her nest in a tree, but since squirrels do not hibernate—as author Ferry informs readers in her easy style—the squirrel emerges regularly to dig up cached acorns. In spring, baby squirrels are born into the nest, and a new generation takes over. Meanwhile, the acorns the squirrel has not dug up have the chance to germinate (the book’s backmatter, “Nutty Facts,” relates, among other tidbits, that 74 percent of cached acorns aren’t retrieved) and grow into oak trees, thereby continuing the cycle. In this way, using a single squirrel as a focus for readers, the story delivers a larger theme of the role squirrels play in creating oak trees. Illustrator Kang’s broad, soft illustrations, presented in creative perspectives, add to the story’s overall feel of elapsed time—squirrel generations, seasons, and the growth of oak trees are subtly presented. This is especially emphasized by the beginning and concluding double-page spreads; the beginning shows a young white boy with a dog, the ending shows the same landscape but with an elderly white man, a different dog, and more and larger oak trees.

Simple words and soft illustrations enhance a fact-based story of squirrels and oak trees. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-18736-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

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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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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