Wordplay that is entertaining and mildly educational.

DO JELLYFISH LIKE PEANUT BUTTER?

AMAZING SEA CREATURE FACTS

From the Do Animals Animate? series

Playful questions and factual answers introduce 12 sea creatures.

Following up on Do Doodlebugs Doodle? (2018), their investigation of insects, this mother-and-daughter authorial pair again team up with illustrator Shi, this time to speculate about sea dwellers. Posing questions, including the one in the title, they ask about pilot whales, sea lions, trumpet fish, sea horses, lampreys, clown fish, football fish, skates, hammerhead sharks, starfish, and mussels. Each question is illustrated on a page or spread; a page turn reveals the answer, usually a resounding “No!” The jokes are clever: Lamprey eels aren’t “plugged in,” but they do connect by “attaching their mouths to a fish’s body,” and so forth. Except for the opening and closing spreads, the layout also reveals the difference between the jokey question, set above a rectangle with rounded corners that contains a painted interpretation, and the serious answer, set on a full-bleed image. The creatures are often anthropomorphized as part of the visual joke and shown more naturally on the page with the facts. Some images include human children; a pale-skinned child with brown hair in a double bun and a different brown-haired child with darker skin appear more than once. Noting that their examples include mammals, fish, and invertebrates, the authors provide a paragraph of further information about each of these animals in the backmatter (where they clarify that starfish are more properly called sea stars).

Wordplay that is entertaining and mildly educational. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-943978-44-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Persnickety Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp.

LLAMA UNLEASHES THE ALPACALYPSE

From the Llama Book series

Llamas, alpacas, and clones—oh my!

In this sequel to Llama Destroys the World (2019), hapless Llama once again wreaks unintentional, large-scale havoc—but this time, he (sort of) saves the day, too. After making an epic breakfast (and epic mess), Llama decides to build a machine that will enable him to avoid cleaning up. No, not a vacuum or dishwasher: It’s a machine that Llama uses to clone his friend “of impeccable tidiness,” Alpaca, in order to create an “army of cleaners.” Cream-colored Llama and light-brown Alpaca, both male, are pear shaped with short, stubby legs, bland expressions, and bulging eyes. Paired with the cartoon illustrations, the text’s comic timing shines: “Llama invited Alpaca over for lunch. / Llama invited Alpaca into the Replicator 3000. / And then, Llama invited disaster.” Soon the house is full of smiling Alpacas in purple scalloped aprons, single-mindedly cleaning—and, as one might expect, things don’t go as planned. Mealtimes (i.e. “second lunch” and dinner) offer opportunities for the “alpacalypse” to emerge from Llama’s house into the wider world. Everyday life grinds to a halt as the myriad Alpacas bearing mops, dusters, and plungers continue their cleaning crusade with no signs of stopping. That is, until the Alpacas realize they are hungry….It’s all very funny, but the sight of the paler-coated Llama exploiting the darker-coated Alpaca, for whom nothing brings “more joy than cleaning,” is an uncomfortable one.

For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22285-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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