Not just for dog lovers, this intro to hero canines is a breed unto itself.

READ REVIEW

SUPERPOWER DOGS

Published to coincide with the release of the IMAX film of the same name, the book spotlights six dog heroes as they each engage in acts of heroism.

Like something out of an episode of Wild Kratts, the book repeatedly labels various dog breeds’ natural abilities as their “superpowers,” whether it’s the great stamina and supersensitive nose of a Dutch shepherd that sniffs out disaster survivors or the webbed toes of a Newfoundland that saves people from the sea. The book broadens its focus from dogs that save lives to include crime fighters (like the bloodhounds that track poachers in Kenya) and dogs that “help people heal,” like Ricochet, an emotional-support golden retriever. The spare text transitions readers smoothly from dog to dog, retaining interest through crisp photography. Paragraphs of brief, engaging text are highlighted against colored borders, giving the overall design a clear, concise look. Details about dog breeds, abilities, defined terms, and locations appear as bullet points inset where appropriate. Backmatter is limited to a list of dog breeds formatted as trading cards, with “personality,” “superpowers,” and “ideal jobs” specified. The authors eschew further reading or internet resources in lieu of a plug for their IMAX film and website.

Not just for dog lovers, this intro to hero canines is a breed unto itself. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45359-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists.

THE BIG BOOK OF BLOOMS

Spirited illustrations brighten a large-format introduction to flowers and their pollinators.

Showing a less Eurocentric outlook than in his Big Book of Birds (2019), Zommer employs agile brushwork and a fondness for graceful lines and bright colors to bring to life bustling bouquets from a range of habitats, from rainforest to desert. Often switching from horizontal to vertical orientations, the topical spreads progress from overviews of major floral families and broad looks at plant anatomy and reproduction to close-ups of select flora—roses and tulips to Venus flytraps and stinking flowers. The book then closes with a shoutout to the conservators and other workers at Kew Gardens (this is a British import) and quick suggestions for young balcony or windowsill gardeners. In most of the low-angled scenes, fancifully drawn avian or insect pollinators with human eyes hover around all the large, luscious blooms, as do one- or two-sentence comments that generally add cogent observations or insights: “All parts of the deadly nightshade plant contain poison. It has been used to poison famous emperors, kings and warriors throughout history.” (Confusingly for the audience, the accurate but limited assertion that bees “often visit blue or purple flowers” appears to be contradicted by an adjacent view of several zeroing in on a yellow toadflax.) Human figures, or, in one scene, hands, are depicted in a variety of sizes, shapes, and skin colors.

A floral fantasia for casual browsers as well as budding botanists. (glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-500-65199-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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