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Perfectly pitched for its audience.

Striking photographs and smooth rhymes celebrate the music of the night.

In this clever appreciation for the natural world, Silverman compares overnight sounds on a quiet pond to an orchestra’s instruments. Deceptively simple verse forms a smooth, easy-to-read-aloud narrative that takes little ones from dusk to dawn. Along the way, the author describes the behaviors and sounds of a bevy of birds and beasts. The sun sets on a quiet pond (“The lighting dims. / The curtain lifts”). A coyote “bugler” howls at the moon. Finally, a robin greets the coming day with its traditional song. From the wood thrush singing “a flutist’s airy melody” to the bullfrog’s tubalike “jug-a-rum,” the animals and instruments presented here are well chosen. Silverman’s graceful words mirror the dazzling stock photographs. The drumming woodpecker, referred to as “she,” is in fact paired with a photo of a female of the species. Other animals include a cricket, a toad, a bittern, beavers (the kits are “the sand block players,” their tail-stamping father is the timpanist), a wood duck, and screech owls. In the afterword, more capable readers can learn about the musicians, the instruments, and how the sounds are made. Whether a bedtime story for the very young or a nature text for early elementary schoolers, this title has broad appeal and utility.

Perfectly pitched for its audience. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2024

ISBN: 9798765644331

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2024

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From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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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