Sure to spark the interest of animal-loving children, this engaging portrait will also please history buffs and Anglophiles.

READ REVIEW

FUR, FINS, AND FEATHERS

ABRAHAM DEE BARTLETT AND THE INVENTION OF THE MODERN ZOO

Maxwell presents a brief biography of Abraham Dee Bartlett, the self-taught animal expert who became superintendent of the London Zoo in 1859 and subsequently made significant improvements in the understanding, care, and treatment of animals in captivity.

The combination of interesting details, attractive illustrations, and direct narration make this introduction to a (most likely) little-known historical figure accessible and appealing. Beginning with Bartlett’s childhood fascination with animals, the text travels briskly through the events of his long life, picking out those most germane to the topic (his recognition of the importance of good nutrition and comfortable and stimulating environments for the animals and of the value of providing educational information for visitors) as well as those most likely to pique young listeners’ interest (his treatment of animals who needed medical care, the zoo’s purchase of Jumbo the elephant). Complex ideas are presented clearly, and personal details add depth despite the brevity of the text. The pictures feature pleasing textures and rich colors. Executed in cut-paper collage and mixed media, they range from cozy interiors, like Abraham’s book-strewn childhood bedroom, to expansive outdoor vistas. Animals of all sorts decorate the pages, offering children the chance to identify familiar species and wonder over unusual specimens.

Sure to spark the interest of animal-loving children, this engaging portrait will also please history buffs and Anglophiles. (timeline, author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5432-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more