Dependable fare for budding naturalists.

ABOUT MARINE MAMMALS

A GUIDE FOR CHILDREN

From the About... series

For the 16th entry in their About… wildlife series, the Sills look to the oceans.

In no readily discernible order, the illustrator depicts 18 marine mammals, from sea otters to blue whales—including polar bears and also a vanishingly rare porpoise called the vaquita—in neatly drawn and brushed watercolor portraits. Opposite each picture is an identifying label, along with a very simple line or two about characteristics common to most of these creatures: “All marine mammals must come to the surface of the water to breathe air.” The illustrations offer toned-down doses of naturalistic visual detail throughout, such as a porpoise giving birth and an orca chowing down on a shark; selective additions of other creatures provide a helpful sense of scale in several images. A closing gallery of thumbnail-size reproductions of the pictures provides amplifications of the narrative’s general statements (baby whales and dolphins compensate for their lack of lips by rolling their tongues into straws to suckle, a takeaway fact if ever there was one). The message that these animals and the oceans in or on which they live need conservation comes through clearly.

Dependable fare for budding naturalists. (bibliography, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-9063

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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