An entry-level ecology book that succeeds in imparting child-accessible information.



From the 10 Reasons to Love a... series

Young readers meet the eight bear species.

With its heavy paper, thick front and back boards, and a front cover featuring a cutout in the shape of a bear, this book is designed to attract (and stand up to) young readers. The text first lists a child-understandable bear trait (“They love to snack”) and then expands on it to explain, for example, that bears eat all kinds of food. Clulow’s double-page–spread, full-color, diorama-like digital artwork illustrates each trait by showing a particular species of bear in its habitat with accurate flora and fauna. In the case of snacking, a group of sun bears is shown fishing, gobbling berries, and raiding beehives. The bears, as well as some flora, fauna, and habitat elements, are identified with labels near them, adding to the information, although some seem obvious (“clouds,” “hillside,” “rain”). Unfortunately, all the animals are given enlarged, white-rimmed eyes—an unnecessary cartoony look that jars in an otherwise thoughtful presentation. Red medallions headed “Show you love a bear” offer information (in a tiny font) about not feeding bears, climate change’s impacts, and encouragement to do further research, among others. Published simultaneously with the same author and illustrator, and following the same format, is 10 Reasons to Love a Whale, which concentrates solely—and successfully—on the blue whale (although it has the same cutesy-eye problem).

An entry-level ecology book that succeeds in imparting child-accessible information. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-016-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.


The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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