A useful addition to a nature-themed storytime.




The cycle of frog life begins with a male bullfrog’s song.

Harrison uses simple, short sentences to describe bullfrog courtship and development: singing, eggs hatching, tadpoles growing, eating and the threat of being eaten, hibernating, and a season of unsuccessful singing before the young frog grows big enough to sing loudly and attract a mate. Appropriately for the preschool audience, the author ignores the variations in bullfrog life that reflect different climate zones. He also simplifies breeding: “A female bullfrog likes his song. Before long she lays eggs.” (There is no backmatter note about fertilization to help caregivers manage questions about what happens between the song and the eggs.) Debut illustrator Cosgrove uses pencils and digital tools to create stylized illustrations that show frogs in a likely environment. She shows the (textually unmentioned) differences between males and females nicely (males have a much larger tympanum, a hearing organ behind their eyes), but occasionally text and illustration don’t quite match. On the spread that reads, “The babies have no legs,” some of the tadpoles do have legs. On the next spread, “They grow fatter and begin to grow legs,” and indeed, the picture shows the process of growth from tiny tadpoles to larger ones developing legs. The text lends itself well to reading aloud, with opportunities for sound effects, and the illustrations show well from a distance.

A useful addition to a nature-themed storytime. (additional facts, further reading, online references) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3834-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.


The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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