A presentation of animal activities for primary grade readers and listeners that is brought low by sadly pedestrian verse.

DAYTIME NIGHTTIME, ALL THROUGH THE YEAR

Day and night and throughout the year, animals are busy and active.

This daytime/nighttime contrast offers a selection of interesting facts. Each double-page spread is titled with a month of the year. Daytime on the left is followed by nighttime on the right. Each page uses the same format, varying only with the placement of the text. Rhyming couplets printed as abcb quatrains are set directly on paintings showing animals engaged in customary behaviors in their native habitats. Straining to fit into the verse form, the text can be awkward and the beat can stumble. “Squirrels gather acorns / They bury for later. / At this time of year / No purpose seems greater.” Readers-aloud will struggle to keep from falling into a singsong inflection. But they will appreciate the range of natural places shown and the wide variety of animals accurately portrayed—from bald eagles and coyotes through lizards, slugs and snails, to rattlesnakes and cougars. While some species are specific to a region, such as the desert tortoises, most can be found across the United States. As in the publisher’s other books, this includes helpful backmatter: a quiz to reinforce the learning, more about each species, and suggestions for follow-up activities called “Teachable Moments.”

A presentation of animal activities for primary grade readers and listeners that is brought low by sadly pedestrian verse. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58469-607-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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