A poetic yet informative introduction to the lives of turtles that will motivate children to find out more.

TURTLE POND

The mysteries of turtles come to life.

Descriptive, thought-provoking text and colorful, detailed watercolors combine to show the lives of members of a single species (the red-eared slider) that live inside some public gardens “in hidden corners / and secret hollows / beneath the wet rocks, / way at the bottom of turtle pond.” From season to season, a child and an adult man observe from the background as the turtles swim about. The text neatly and naturally notes various behaviors (underwater breathing, eating, interacting with fish, slow exploration, basking in sunlight, stacking themselves into piles, poking their heads in and out of their shells, sleeping on rocks, dwelling near the bottom of the pond) in accessible language and with interesting specifics. The brief descriptions seem likely to lead to more questions than actual answers, presumably so that young scientists may investigate further themselves, making this a good choice to get readers and listeners thinking and observing. Endnotes provide additional information on the particular species, the general status of turtles worldwide, and the author’s source of inspiration. The book’s focal characters have dark hair and light skin.

A poetic yet informative introduction to the lives of turtles that will motivate children to find out more. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55498-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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