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FACE TO FACE WITH DOLPHINS

A National Geographic photographer introduces young readers to dolphins through photographs and description of their physical characteristics, family life and relations with human beings. This visually appealing presentation, part of a series of close encounters with the animal world, offers close-ups and action pictures of various dolphin species including orcas. Relying on the spectacular images to entice the reader, the authors never quite explain why young people should care about dolphins but acknowledge their playful appeal. Sidebar instruction in dolphin-like swimming and the use of a balloon to make the squeaks that are part of the species’ vocal repertoire, as well as a description of dolphin play, help young readers connect. Extensive endmatter, in a smaller type font, provides information on how young readers can help dolphins (mostly through being careful about waste), tells where to see them and how to take pictures and provides more detailed facts about the species. Pair it with Kathleen Dudzinski’s Meeting Dolphins (2000) from the same publisher. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4263-0141-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

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CODY HARMON, KING OF PETS

From the Franklin School Friends series

Another winner from Mills, equally well suited to reading aloud and independent reading.

When Franklin School principal Mr. Boone announces a pet-show fundraiser, white third-grader Cody—whose lack of skill and interest in academics is matched by keen enthusiasm for and knowledge of animals—discovers his time to shine.

As with other books in this series, the children and adults are believable and well-rounded. Even the dialogue is natural—no small feat for a text easily accessible to intermediate readers. Character growth occurs, organically and believably. Students occasionally, humorously, show annoyance with teachers: “He made mad squinty eyes at Mrs. Molina, which fortunately she didn’t see.” Readers will be kept entertained by Cody’s various problems and the eventual solutions. His problems include needing to raise $10 to enter one of his nine pets in the show (he really wants to enter all of them), his troublesome dog Angus—“a dog who ate homework—actually, who ate everything and then threw up afterward”—struggles with homework, and grappling with his best friend’s apparently uncaring behavior toward a squirrel. Serious values and issues are explored with a light touch. The cheery pencil illustrations show the school’s racially diverse population as well as the memorable image of Mr. Boone wearing an elephant costume. A minor oddity: why does a child so immersed in animal facts call his male chicken a rooster but his female chickens chickens?

Another winner from Mills, equally well suited to reading aloud and independent reading. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30223-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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LADY LOLLIPOP

The author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985) offers another winner with this tale of a bright pig and her canny young keeper “training” a spoiled princess. When Princess Penelope demands a pig for her eighth birthday, her over-indulgent father requires every pig keeper in the country to assemble with a likely porcine candidate. The princess settles on Lollipop, who turns out to be the sole possession of penniless orphan Johnny Skinner. As only Johnny can get Lollipop to sit, roll over, or poop outdoors, soon lad and pig are comfortably ensconced together in a royal stall—at least until the pig can be persuaded to respond to the Princess’s commands. It’s only the beginning of a meteoric rise for Johnny, and for Lollipop too, as the two conspire to teach the princess civilized manners, and end up great favorites of the entire royal family. Barton (Rattletrap Car, p. 504, etc.) captures Penelope’s fuming, bratty character perfectly in a generous array of line drawings, and gives Lollipop an expression of affectionate amusement that will win over readers as effortlessly as it wins over the princess and her parents. Move over, Wilbur. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1269-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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