CROCODILE SAFARI

Less well known than their alligator cousins, crocodiles live in the United States too, although not in abundance: Approximately 2,000 have been counted by airplane. In this intriguing new entry in a body of more than 100 books about the natural world, wildlife observer Arnosky describes canoeing with his wife through mangrove swamps in South Florida and seeing 20 crocodiles. Interwoven with the personal narrative is considerable information about these formidable reptiles. Detailed acrylic paintings accompany the text. Individual crocs are shown in context, with the time, weather and tide of each sighting noted. These portraits cross the gutter, separated from a column of text by a mangrove stem. Other illustrations add information, demonstrating the differences between crocodiles and alligators and identifying other inhabitants of this ecosystem. Arnosky ends with a song about his trip—words and music—that can be heard on the accompanying DVD, which also includes videos of the Arnoskys’ journeys and the artist at work. Pair this excellent introduction to the species with his new novel, The Pirates of Crocodile Swamp (2009), for a toothy treat. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-439-90356-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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