A simple introduction and a solid addition to elementary-age collections.

READ REVIEW

CONTRARY CREATURES

UNIQUE ANIMAL OPPOSITES

Graphic artist Weinberg’s debut picture book introduces readers to different animal traits.

“Look closely!” On the verso, a green chameleon and a leaflike katydid blend in with the surrounding leafy trees: “Some animals blend into the background”; on the recto, a peacock stands with tail fully spread against a white background: “while others want to be seen by all.” In this book’s simple text and eye-catching illustrations, young readers can compare and contrast different animals and their traits: a small ladybug and an enormous blue whale, water-bathing Japanese macaques and mud-bathing hippos. The text is occasionally playful (“Some animals eat plants. / And some plants eat animals!”) and even surprising. “Some animals exist only in stories and legends” (a winged unicorn and jackalope, among other mythical creatures), “while others are real / but seem make believe” (a leafy sea dragon and a pangolin). Ben-Day–style digital illustrations portray many of the animals with a posed quality that occasionally veers into a flat affect, but the bright colors are engaging, and the images work effectively in tandem with the text. The final spread, featuring a beige-skinned child asleep in a room full of animal artifacts, asks the question “Which animal do you like best?” and invites readers to flip back to favorite spreads or move forward to the backmatter, which offers further facts about the animals portrayed.

A simple introduction and a solid addition to elementary-age collections. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62414-580-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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