A useful classroom teaching tool; it is also available in Spanish.

DESERT BATHS

Throughout a day and night, a dozen U.S. desert animals demonstrate that not all animals use water to bathe.

This intriguing combination of biology and earth science follows the model of Prairie Storms (2011), by the same pair. Here, while a short text describes an animal’s behavior, the illustrations also reveal the time of day. From the turkey vulture’s early-morning sun bath to the bobcat kitten’s tongue-wash late at night, each creature is shown in its natural habitat in Rietz’s realistic paintings, done with a mix of watercolor and digital effects. As in the previous title, these double-page spreads are framed with unlabeled but relevant border designs. Six pages of backmatter include “fun facts,” an adaptations matching game, a U.S. map, further information about animal cleaning methods and telling time by the sun’s position, and instructions for making a sundial, but no index. The creatures described are fascinating, but the text lacks an explanatory, unifying introduction or conclusion. It is only through careful reading of the backmatter that readers will discover the point of the text—the variety of ways animals get rid of dirt, germs, bugs and parasites—or the orientation of the illustrations (looking north) that demonstrates the time of day.

A useful classroom teaching tool; it is also available in Spanish. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-607185-253

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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