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An additional choice for young readers interested in animal traits.

When King Lion holds a race to honor the fastest animal, Cheetah easily wins the title.

Cheetah runs 75 miles per hour in the 100-yard dash, but all the other animals clamor to show their own great speeds in different kinds of contests. Large and small, land and sea animals, birds and beasts, reptiles and insects: They tell their king the facts about their abilities. Husky says: “I am the fastest over long distances.” Ostrich wants all participants to “run on two legs to be fair to everyone.” A sea turtle thinks that the race should be held in the water, an idea heartily endorsed by a black marlin. A majestic peregrine falcon insists on the sky because these birds fly at 240 miles per hour, but a small free-tailed bat pipes up and says that the race “should be at night!” What’s a wise ruler to do? The king creates “an Olympics” with multiple events. Realistic illustrations in a somewhat dull palette of browns, blues, and greens bring animals together (not always to scale) in a dusty savanna landscape. The folkloric telling contrasts with the factual speeds of the animals included in the text. Educational activities in the backmatter, some beyond the ability of the intended readers of the main text, focus on mathematical and scientific comparisons. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback only.

An additional choice for young readers interested in animal traits. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-739-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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From the What if You Had . . .? series

Another playful imagination-stretcher.

Markle invites children to picture themselves living in the homes of 11 wild animals.

As in previous entries in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations of a diverse cast of young people fancifully imitating wild creatures are paired with close-up photos of each animal in a like natural setting. The left side of one spread includes a photo of a black bear nestling in a cozy winter den, while the right side features an image of a human one cuddled up with a bear. On another spread, opposite a photo of honeybees tending to newly hatched offspring, a human “larva” lounges at ease in a honeycomb cell, game controller in hand, as insect attendants dish up goodies. A child with an eye patch reclines on an orb weaver spider’s web, while another wearing a head scarf constructs a castle in a subterranean chamber with help from mound-building termites. Markle adds simple remarks about each type of den, nest, or burrow and basic facts about its typical residents, then closes with a reassuring reminder to readers that they don’t have to live as animals do, because they will “always live where people live.” A select gallery of traditional homes, from igloo and yurt to mudhif, follows a final view of the young cast waving from a variety of differently styled windows.

Another playful imagination-stretcher. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781339049052

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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