INCREDIBLE CREATURES

Handsome illustrations and a colorful cover are not enough to make this title in the Young Discoveries Library a useful purchase. Odd—and not-so-odd—creatures are presented in spreads with large full-color glossy drawings, with one main paragraph each and several descriptive captions. The text is banal and adds little to understanding: ``Black rhinos puff like steam engines when they charge at their enemies,'' and ``Pacific hagfish can tie themselves into knots to wriggle out of an enemy's grasp.'' Unrelated animals are grouped together under headings such as ``Armed for Life'' (armadillos and turtles) and ``In the Air'' (the focus is on bats, but a squirrel glider is pictured because it ``does not have wings like a bat''). A howler monkey is paired with a troop of ring-tailed lemurs. The text for ``Tusks and Horns'' indicates that a rhinoceros has a horn made of keratin (which will grow back if cut off), a walrus has unusual teeth called tusks, two male narwhals may cross their tusks like swords, and a unicorn is an imaginary horse with a horn on its head. Intended for young children, this collection is more confusing than enlightening. (Nonfiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7835-4840-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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SEE PIP POINT

From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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