The dramatic full-color cover illustration of a spitting cobra and hissing rattlesnake will attract browsers to this title, but the information they encounter within may make them feel hoodwinked. Every spread starts with a statement that is partially answered in the text, e.g., ``I didn't know that snakes lay eggs,'' or have fangs, or can fly. The construction of the statements often results in imprecisions that Llewellyn (My First Book of Time, 1992, etc.) attempts to clean up in subsequent sentences—``although most snakes lay eggs, some, such as vipers, are born live.'' What most readers will remember, however, are the opening statements, and not the elaborations, e.g., that some snakes fly and not that there is a particular snake that glides. The layout is dramatic, often with white text on black backgrounds, but cluttered: full-color close-ups of snake parts, a border of cartoon animals, boxes of things to do, puzzles, and true or false questions. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7613-0586-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Copper Beech/Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...


Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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