COLORFUL CAPTIVATING CORAL REEFS

Patent’s latest nature foray contains a lot of information; unfortunately, it’s often disorganized and pedantic, sometimes confusing. Page four, for example, says that coral reefs are mostly made up of limestone laid down by small animals; page five says that these are called hard corals. On pages 10 and 11 comes the first mention of other types of coral—orange cup and soft—without any explanation of how these corals grow. The straightforward text never quite comes to life. Descriptions of the fish and animals that live on the reef are comprehensive, but not always interesting; the illustrations, though appropriately bold for such a color-filled subject, lack scale (a lionfish bigger than a moray eel?) and movement, and would be greatly improved by more captions. A fine addition to a library looking for a basic work on the subject, but not good enough to supplant what one already has. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8027-8862-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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