A big win for classroom use or individual research thanks to its captivating photos and smooth introductions of new concepts.


All in a Rainforest Day

An accessible introduction to rain forests of the world by Senisi (Steel Drumming at the Apollo, 2015, etc.) featuring immersive animal and plant photographs by Marent (Butterflies, 2015, etc.).

The book takes place over the course of a single day and begins in the morning with a picture of sunlight shining down through the rain forest “canopy”—the first of the potentially challenging new vocabulary words for emergent readers, defined in a glossary. As the sun reaches its way down to the “understory” (another new vocabulary term), so do the photos, finding a katydid crawling on some twisted roots that are reminiscent of the work of M.C. Escher. As the light hits the forest floor, the waterfalls and brilliant, teal body of water almost glow. A proboscis monkey eats a leaf, which will make readers either laugh or draw back at its weird appearance. A lizard in India watches for predators, and immediately afterward, a snake eats a similar-looking lizard in Peru (“Watch out! Gulp!”). Next, a parade of creatures (including a single-file line of flatid leaf-bugs) shows how they protect themselves from predators: the bugs with their numbers, a caterpillar with its “stinging needles,” bright blue-green stink bugs with their smell, a gecko with its leaflike camouflage, and a frog with its poison. At noon, a photograph looking down at the rain forest introduces the “emergent layer” but doesn’t show the way that sparse trees stick up from the canopy to create it, which may confuse some young readers encountering the term for the first time. The day continues with more weird, graceful creatures in brilliant color, especially an orangutan mother and baby, sure to appeal to youngsters. Teachers may be concerned that not all these animals are neighbors in real life, but a helpful caption list at the end makes it clear where in the world each image was taken. The word-to-photo ratio makes this an excellent book to share in front of a class, and confident emergent readers will enjoy tackling the new words with only a little help.

A big win for classroom use or individual research thanks to its captivating photos and smooth introductions of new concepts.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 32

Publisher: Edtechlens Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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