In the hands of the right presenter, this book could lead to exciting aural experiences.

READ REVIEW

BOOM! BELLOW! BLEAT!

ANIMAL POEMS FOR TWO OR MORE VOICES

Kids love to make animal noises.

The 13 poems in this collection vary in style, but all rely heavily on accurate animal sounds made by mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and fish. A “performance key” on the contents page gives instructions for the proper reading by “two or more readers.” The poems are printed primarily in two colors, each meant for a reader (or readers) to read alternately, with a third signifying unison. The last poem, “Forest Orchestra,” has a different pattern, explained on that page, and could lead to a culminating symphony of sounds. With an adult leader to direct, the poems could become part of a creative performance piece, and use as a home read-aloud could lead to playful adult-child interaction. The bold, digital illustrations have a painterly feel. “Rattlesnake’s Warning,” with its words printed in white and orange on a black double-page spread, is wonderfully enhanced by a coiled snake with mouth agape and two sharp fangs waiting. This poem is one of the more powerful, with its short verses: “By night, / I see your heat / as I slither / near your feet” punctuated by the “chhhhhh-chhhhhh-chhhhhh” sound of the rattle. Fascinating closing notes offer opportunities for caregivers to extend the instruction, but children aren’t likely to peruse these dense pages.

In the hands of the right presenter, this book could lead to exciting aural experiences. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62091-520-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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