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 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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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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