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ENCHANTED LIONS

When the “sea is a maze of swirls” and the “night is ablaze with pearls,” Rose opens her shutters and discovers enchanted lions rising from the ocean to cavort on the sand. As one of the enchanted lions bounds into her room, Rose fearlessly climbs on his back and they “swoop through outer space,” past constellations Pegasus and Pisces. Racing with the unicorn Monoceros, they “jump-rope crescent moons, hopscotch asteroids” and are rescued from a black hole by the stellar whale Cetus. Safely back home, Rose and her enchanted lion rub noses before she tucks in for the night with her kitty. Greenberg’s cadenced, rhyming text relies on images of “cosmic suction cups,” “giant rafters holding everything in place” and “interstellar voids” to convey galactic timelessness and enormity. Using simple forms washed with the perfect palette of grainy midnight blues, sea greens and tawny yellows, Swarner’s luminous illustrations highlight Rose’s freeform romp with her very cuddly lion across a glorious star-studded cosmos of double-page spreads. An enchanting bedtime caper. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-525-47938-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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