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A standout picture book that both entertains and teaches.

So many places to go. How to explore them? With maps!

A cheery cartoon raccoon opens the world—i.e., a figurative foldout map—to young explorers and explains the wonderful ways maps help people navigate. In a chatty, conversational voice, the narrator explains how maps show a bird’s-eye view of a place, allow people to get where they want to go, use symbols (e.g., a compass rose, map keys), and much more. The raccoon also discusses various kinds of maps, including city and road maps, museum maps, star maps, weather maps, even maps of the inside of the body. Grown-ups, take note of the plethora of foundational skills kids can hone here, such as visual literacy, counting, color recognition, directionality, spatial concepts, and size relationships, not to mention the fun, ease, and sense of adventure they’ll experience in learning to confidently find their way about. The raccoon guide asks children frequent questions throughout, so they get ample seek-and-find opportunities while negotiating varied, easy-to-follow maps and learning from this stimulating, fact-filled book. Colorful, lively artwork does much to make the book itself a map of sorts, as spreads teach and guide youngsters in navigating and interpreting the elements of simple maps step by step. A map index concludes the volume. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A standout picture book that both entertains and teaches. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 18, 2023

ISBN: 9780593519981

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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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