DO LIZARDS EAT ICE CREAM?

HOW ANIMALS BEAT THE HEAT

A pleasant but not necessary addition to the nature shelves.

Silly questions and sensible, sometimes surprising answers show how animals cope with hot temperatures.

In this companion to Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? How Animals Keep Warm (2018), Kaner offers young readers further fascinating facts about animal adaptations. Not all her foolish-seeming questions are answered negatively. Sometimes, there is a “YES!” or a “YES! (sort of),” which is far more likely to engage surprised readers than a straight binary. Ochre sea stars “fill up with cold seawater so they won’t dry out in the sun” if stranded on shore at high tide. So yes, like us, they drink lots of water to stay cool. Musk oxen don’t get haircuts, but they shed a woolly layer every spring. From shovel-snouted lizards to herring gulls, the 13 species portrayed come from around the world. Many will be familiar, even to second graders, from zoos, picture books, and nature documentaries. With its stylized illustrations and clean, colorful design, this would show well in a read-aloud session. But alas, as in the previous title, the designer wasted the opportunity a picture-book page turn provides for engaging listeners in speculation, instead placing question and answer on the same spread. A final page, showing a brown-haired, brown-skinned child floating in a tube and eating a Popsicle, suggests what some lucky humans can do. With no backmatter nor sources this has limited potential beyond its not-inconsiderable entertainment value.

A pleasant but not necessary addition to the nature shelves. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77147-398-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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