A meaty but easily digestible overview.

An introduction to everyone’s favorite coldblooded, scaly land (mostly) creatures.

De la Bédoyère tackles her topic in pithy, systematic observations. She opens with a look at reptilian types and anatomy, then surveys both modern and extinct species, then introduces reptiles resident in the Borneo rainforest and other habitats, discusses feeding and parenting patterns, explores survival strategies, explains brumation and other temperature-control mechanisms, looks at sea-turtle migration, and, to close, interrogates our various interactions with reptiles, from fashion and science to conservation efforts. Using what looks like a mix of brushwork and painted paper collage, Teckentrup depicts dozens of flat but realistically detailed snakes, lizards, and crocodilians, all labeled and posing individually or in groups in natural settings. Regular invitations to count or spot dinosaurs, camouflaged geckos, tiny Brookesia chameleons, a baby Komodo dragon, or other creatures will tempt viewers to linger over scenes and take closer looks at the flora as well as the fauna. Though realistic, the illustrations are not without whimsy. A depiction of a pit viper sensing a rat’s body heat positions the rodent’s silhouette as if seen with an infrared camera, a cone of white extending down from the snake’s eyes; a mother timber rattlesnake looks protectively behind her at her brood of snakelets. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.8-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 60% of actual size.)

A meaty but easily digestible overview. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1707-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021


From the Unlikely Friendships for Kids series

The sense of wonder that infuses each simply worded chapter is contagious, and some of the photos are soooo cuuuuute.

The author of an adult book about uncommon animal attachments invites emergent readers to share the warm (Unlikely Friendships, 2011).

This is the first of four spinoffs, all rewritten and enhanced with fetching color photographs of the subject. It pairs a very young rhesus monkey with a dove, one cat with a zoo bear and another that became a “seeing-eye cat” for a blind dog (!), an old performing elephant with a stray dog and a lion in the Kenyan wild with a baby oryx. Refreshingly, the author, a science writer, refrains from offering facile analyses of the relationships’ causes or homiletic commentary. Instead, she explains how each companionship began, what is surprising about it and also how some ended, from natural causes or otherwise. There is a regrettable number of exclamation points, but they are in keeping with the overall enthusiastic tone.

The sense of wonder that infuses each simply worded chapter is contagious, and some of the photos are soooo cuuuuute. (animal and word lists) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7611-7011-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012



The result of this Grammy-nominated harpist’s effort to simplify a complex scientific subject is a medley of environmental...

Pollution, energy use, and simply throwing things away have created a worldwide mess that kids can help clean up with an eight-step action plan.

This well-meant offering introduces the idea of the interconnectedness of human activities and the state of our world. We’re all affected by pollution. Our need for energy results in a variety of current problems: unclean air, melting ice caps, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. We should use less. Trash doesn’t vanish; it must be burned or dumped. We should also recycle. This helps save trees, which “eat up pollution.” Colorful, unsophisticated cartoons show a bunny magician who cannot make trash disappear and a diverse array of young people who can. The author’s strong message is undercut by end matter that twice states that “many scientists” consider climate change to be caused by global warming. A National Academy of Sciences survey in 2010 showed an overwhelming consensus: 97 percent. Inspired by her concern for the environment, Kondonassis wrote this when she was unable to find an appropriate  book that would explain to her young daughter why she should care. Too bad she missed Kim Michelle Toft’s The World That We Want (2005) or Todd Parr’s The Earth Book (2010).

The result of this Grammy-nominated harpist’s effort to simplify a complex scientific subject is a medley of environmental tweets. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61608-588-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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