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 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019


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 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017



From the Baby Loves… series

So rocket science can be fun.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If they haven’t already thought about their futures (and they probably haven’t), toddlers and preschoolers might start planning after perusing this cheerful first guide to scientific careers. Plump-cheeked, wide-eyed tykes with various skin and hair colors introduce different professions, including zoologist, meteorologist, aerospace engineer, and environmental scientist, depicted with cues to tip readers off to what the jobs entail. The simple text presents the sometimes-long, tongue-twisting career names while helpfully defining them in comprehensible terms. For example, an environmental scientist “helps take care of our world,” and a zoologist is defined as someone who “studies how animals behave.” Scientists in general are identified as those who “study, learn, and solve problems.” Such basic language not only benefits youngsters, but also offers adults sharing the book easy vocabulary with which to expand on conversations with kids about the professions. The title’s ebullient appearance is helped along by the typography: The jobs’ names are set in all caps, printed in color and in a larger font than the surrounding text, and emphasized with exclamation points. Additionally, the buoyant watercolors feature clues to what scientists in these fields work with, such as celestial bodies for astronomers. The youngest listeners won’t necessarily get all of this, but the book works as a rudimentary introduction to STEM topics and a shoutout to scientific endeavors.

So rocket science can be fun. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62354-149-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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