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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal.

I AM NOT A PENGUIN

A PANGOLIN'S LAMENT

Most children will not be familiar with pangolins, scaly mammals native to Asia and Africa.

But neither are the animal characters who mix up the pangolin with many other animals. A talkative pangolin introduces his species with a poster. The animals, illustrated in a stylized but realistic manner, seem thoroughly confused by this new creature. In the dryly witty text, the pangolin describes his various attributes but is constantly interrupted by other animals mistaking him for a creature that’s similar in some way. When the pangolin describes curling up into a ball to protect himself, the skunk says: “Oh, I get it! He’s an armadillo.” When penguins are remarked on, the pangolin grows extremely testy. “I AM CERTAINLY NOT A PENGUIN! I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT PENGUINS! THERE ARE NO PENGUINS HERE! ZERO PENGUINS! NOT. ONE. PENGUIN!” And who should stroll in but a surfer penguin, wearing cool sunglasses and leading the pangolin’s audience to the beach. The crestfallen pangolin starts to cancel the presentation, but then a small Asian-presenting child shows up to listen, explaining, “I’m just a kid”—to which the pangolin responds with puzzlement: “Huh. Like a goat?” The pangolin shows sheet after informational sheet to an enthralled audience of one, quiet humor giving way to a small torrent of facts written on mock presentation paper. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

A whimsical introduction to an unusual mammal. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12740-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more