An idyllic view of the conventional annual cycle.

Trees leaf out and change color, wildflowers bloom, birds nest, and fawns and fox kits grow through a four-season round.

The hand of man never appears in Taylor’s deciduous dells, and they teem with wildlife for young viewers to spot. Maskell’s bland text, set in noodle-shaped captions, helps by pointing out highlights or setting easy challenges: “A woodpecker drums on a tree trunk calling for a mate”; “The leaves turn red, orange, and gold”; “Can you count 12 birds with yellow chests?” If the natural history is sometimes a bit vague (“Minibeasts live inside this tree trunk, and others creep up underneath”) and much of the flora and fauna goes unidentified, still the sylvan residents are at least naturalistically depicted. Also, though the woodland biome doesn’t change, each scene is slightly different, as though viewers were turning in place. The artist varies the quality of light from tableau to tableau as well, and the pop-up trees create tantalizing depths and shadows. The covers can be folded back and tied with a ribbon to create a turnable panorama. Most animals will be recognizable to residents of the temperate zones of North America despite the book’s European setting.

An idyllic view of the conventional annual cycle. (Informational pop-up novelty. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78627-306-2

Page Count: 8

Publisher: Laurence King

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018


Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


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

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