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VOLCANO DREAMS

A STORY OF YELLOWSTONE

An unusual and appealing addition to the sense-of-wonder shelf.

Under a Yellowstone landscape populated by interesting animals lies a sleeping giant, a great volcano.

This book makes a clever connection between the geology and the wildlife of America’s first national park. A gentle text and scenic illustrations depict various animals’ activities throughout the day. Then, attention turns to what’s happening underground, the processes that result in the bubbling mud pots, hissing steam vents, and roaring geysers. Fox describes a time when the volcano erupted, noting the lasting effects in the rocks and plant cover, and, finally, the narrative returns to the animals, now ready for sleep. The metaphor is accessible even to young listeners, and the effect is soothing rather than frightening. The text and translucent frames for the animal scenes are set directly on double-page illustrations done with pencil, watercolor collage, and digital oil paints. These realistic images show the large animals described in the text—wolf, moose, bear, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mountain lion, coyote—and smaller ones that can be found by the curious child and easily identified by a knowledgeable adult reader. A helpful map on the title page shows the outlines of the caldera within the park; the backmatter includes a glossary of volcano-related words and more about this long-dormant “supervolcano.” The author’s first picture book reflects her own appreciation for this national treasure, which could inspire family visits.

An unusual and appealing addition to the sense-of-wonder shelf. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9883303-8-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Web of Life

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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BUTT OR FACE?

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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CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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