YAY FOR BIG BROTHERS!

Serviceable.

An animal book focusing on big brothers offers reflection questions for older siblings to ponder.

A human big brother and his younger sibling, both presenting White, leaf through a book (readers will note it is the book they are holding) to learn about big brothers of other species. Several animals, including naked mole rats, hoary marmots, and beavers, are presented in successive double-page spreads. One to three sentences of information appear on verso, with one question for readers on recto. Some of the questions are open-ended, asking kids to consider how big brothers help younger siblings stay safe. Other queries are straightforward, asking about eating preferences and favorite games after sharing facts about the crow and kangaroo, respectively. While the title speaks to brothers, presumably older siblings of any gender would revel in answering. Illustrations present each animal family like paper dolls. The vibrantly colored animals have slightly anthropomorphic eyes and lie flat on the landscape of their natural environment. While this style doesn’t necessarily command attention, it presents images cleanly. The predictable rhythm and simple visuals are soothing and allow for focus on the discussion questions posed in each spread. Racial diversity is present in an ensemble spread of human sibling pairs. However, each one of these shares exact skin tone and hair texture between the two, homogenizing their seen identities.

Serviceable. (glossary, charts, facts) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64351-822-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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

ECLIPSE

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse brings a father and son closer together.

After learning in school about the eclipse’s impending arrival, a curious young boy excitedly figures out the best time and place to see it. His father agrees to transport him to the woods to view the eclipse, and the child describes everything that happens at various points—two months before the eclipse, then a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, and the exciting second before the sun slips behind the moon. Time seems to stand still, and the creatures in the woods are baffled by what appears to be an early nightfall. Then the countdown begins again, with the boy describing what happens after the eclipse—one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one year, and even longer. The moment has become a shared memory that enhances the bond between father and son and inspires future eclipse-chasing expeditions. Based on the author’s actual experience with his own son in 2017, this picture book features lively, child-friendly digital artwork filled with scenes of nature, matter-of-fact text that acknowledges the awesomeness of this rare phenomenon, and useful maps that chart the solar eclipse of 2017 and projected paths for future eclipses. Father and son are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse. (more information on eclipses) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781338608823

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

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