ON THE WING

AMERICAN BIRDS IN MIGRATION

“About five billion land birds from five hundred species leave their North American nesting area to spend the winter farther south,” according to Lerner (My Indoor Garden, 1999, etc.), but that’s only part of the story told in this remarkable look at bird migration. The author here describes bird flight patterns North-South, East-West, and up and down from higher to lower altitudes with the changing seasons. She explains why some birds migrate all the time but others only some times, and why still others just stay home. Nearly every page has a helpful thumbnail map and a handsome painting of birds. Most intriguing are scientific studies about how birds prepare for migration, and how they find their way. For example, the tiny hummingbird adds 40 percent to his weight before migration, and can travel 500 miles nonstop. Lerner reports scientists have found “magnetite,” or lodestone, in the heads of homing pigeons, suggesting they have a built-in magnetic compass. Other studies show caged birds with a pattern of the northern sky on the ceiling attempt to fly in their migratory path. If some stars are removed, the bird still flies in the correct direction, but if all stars are removed, the bird is confused and flutters in all directions. The author concludes with suggestions on birdwatching, groups, and guidebooks. This is super science, beautifully presented. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16649-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme.

KATT VS. DOGG

An age-old rivalry is reluctantly put aside when two young vacationers are lost in the wilderness.

Anthropomorphic—in body if definitely not behavior—Dogg Scout Oscar and pampered Molly Hissleton stray from their separate camps, meet by chance in a trackless magic forest, and almost immediately recognize that their only chance of survival, distasteful as the notion may be, lies in calling a truce. Patterson and Grabenstein really work the notion here that cooperation is better than prejudice founded on ignorance and habit, interspersing explicit exchanges on the topic while casting the squabbling pair with complementary abilities that come out as they face challenges ranging from finding food to escaping such predators as a mountain lion and a pack of vicious “weaselboars.” By the time they cross a wide river (on a raft steered by “Old Jim,” an otter whose homespun utterances are generally cribbed from Mark Twain—an uneasy reference) back to civilization, the two are BFFs. But can that friendship survive the return, with all the social and familial pressures to resume the old enmity? A climactic cage-match–style confrontation before a worked-up multispecies audience provides the answer. In the illustrations (not seen in finished form) López plops wide-eyed animal heads atop clothed, more or less human forms and adds dialogue balloons for punchlines.

A waggish tale with a serious (and timely) theme. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-41156-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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THE COOKIE-STORE CAT

There is an ineffable sweetness in Rylant’s work, which skirts the edge of sentimentality but rarely tumbles, saved by her simple artistry. This companion piece to The Bookshop Dog (1996) relates how the cookie-store cat was found, a tiny, skinny kitten, very early one day as the bakers came in to work. The cat gets morning kisses, when the bakers tell him that he is “sweeter than any cookie” and “prettier than marzipan.” Then he makes his rounds, out the screen door painted with “cherry drops and gingerbread men” to visit the fish-shop owner, the yarn lady, and the bookshop, where Martha Jane makes a cameo appearance. Back at the cookie store, the cat listens to Father Eugene, who eats his three Scotch chewies and tells about the new baby in the parish, and sits with the children and their bags of cookies. At Christmas he wears a bell and a red ribbon, and all the children get free Santa cookies. The cheerful illustrations are done in paint as thick as frosting; the flattened shapes and figures are a bit cookie-shaped themselves. A few recipes are included in this yummy, comforting book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-54329-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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