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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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal.

I AM NOT A PENGUIN

A PANGOLIN'S LAMENT

Most children will not be familiar with pangolins, scaly mammals native to Asia and Africa.

But neither are the animal characters who mix up the pangolin with many other animals. A talkative pangolin introduces his species with a poster. The animals, illustrated in a stylized but realistic manner, seem thoroughly confused by this new creature. In the dryly witty text, the pangolin describes his various attributes but is constantly interrupted by other animals mistaking him for a creature that’s similar in some way. When the pangolin describes curling up into a ball to protect himself, the skunk says: “Oh, I get it! He’s an armadillo.” When penguins are remarked on, the pangolin grows extremely testy. “I AM CERTAINLY NOT A PENGUIN! I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT PENGUINS! THERE ARE NO PENGUINS HERE! ZERO PENGUINS! NOT. ONE. PENGUIN!” And who should stroll in but a surfer penguin, wearing cool sunglasses and leading the pangolin’s audience to the beach. The crestfallen pangolin starts to cancel the presentation, but then a small Asian-presenting child shows up to listen, explaining, “I’m just a kid”—to which the pangolin responds with puzzlement: “Huh. Like a goat?” The pangolin shows sheet after informational sheet to an enthralled audience of one, quiet humor giving way to a small torrent of facts written on mock presentation paper. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12740-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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