Enlightening and engaging, a thrilling panorama of the diversity to be found throughout the animal kingdom.

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DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST

AND OTHER POEMS FROM THE WATER HOLE

A poetic celebration of animal life found in the African grasslands.

Inspired by wildlife photographer Greg du Toit, who submerged himself in a Kenyan water hole to capture glimpses of the creatures gathering there, Latham and illustrator Wadham showcase the splendors of that world in this riveting picture-book tribute. Through spare lyric poems and brief but illuminating prose descriptions set within warm, subdued-toned spreads, the duo invite young readers to explore the importance of the water hole for no fewer than 15 species who congregate at this vital life source. Unusual beasts with sonorous names like impala, oxpecker, nightjar and wildebeest all come to drink, sometimes risking life and limb when met by dangerous snakes—“Puff adder / hisses— / rarely misses”—who also frequent the water hole to survive. In an effort to ward off other would-be predators, including the unrelenting African sun, a “rugby tangle” of frolicking zebras or a herd of elephants luxuriating in a “dust bath at dusk” may be spotted, all hoping to evade the services of the “mean-eyed marabou,” the bald-headed carrion-eating stork. Latham’s finely crafted verse, at once humorous and serious, dazzlingly opens the imagination to the wilds of the world.

Enlightening and engaging, a thrilling panorama of the diversity to be found throughout the animal kingdom. (glossary, further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1232-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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