With well-chosen, clearly conveyed facts and handsome compositions that invite study, this team delivers another fine...

Fourteen creatures lay claim to the title posed in Guiberson’s central question: “Who is the deadliest creature in the world?”

As in previous collaborations with illustrator Spirin (The Greatest Dinosaur Ever, 2013, etc.), each animal here delivers four or five short, boastful sentences as proof. The golden poison dart frog avows, “I zap ants and beetles and store poison in my skin….I am tiny but have enough toxin to kill ten men….That’s why I am the deadliest creature in the world!” Reptiles are well-represented by three snakes and the Komodo dragon. The sole mammal is the short-tailed shrew, whose poison immobilizes its prey, permitting underground caching for later noshing. Spirin’s mixed-media, double-page paintings depict most animals—scales, teeth, and talons delineated with Renaissance precision—in their likely habitats, sometimes entwined with freshly killed prey. However, taking cues from Guiberson’s text for the Brazilian wandering spider (“I like to travel and can show up anywhere. Have you checked your shoes, boxes, cars, and bananas?”), the artist presents a mischievously disquieting still life of a car’s seat with fruit basket, kid’s sneaker—and spiders.

With well-chosen, clearly conveyed facts and handsome compositions that invite study, this team delivers another fine effort, equally well-suited to family browsing and classroom use. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-198-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016



A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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