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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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