A welcome addition to the eye-catching series that began with Wild Tracks (2008).

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FROZEN WILD

HOW ANIMALS SURVIVE IN THE COLDEST PLACES ON EARTH

Continuing his exploration of the world around us, a wildlife artist takes readers to icy polar habitats far from his Vermont home.

Chapter by chapter, Arnosky introduces animals who thrive in spite of the cold: under the ice and over the snow in northern winters and in the Arctic and Antarctic. Acrylic paintings spread across the expanse of fold-out pages, adding to readers’ feelings of immersion in these unfamiliar environments. The animals are shown in groups that would be unlikely in the wild, as when a polar bear and walrus look over the edge of an ice floe as a narwhal, beluga, and harbor seal swim nearby. These make for interesting comparisons. Shaded pencil drawings illustrate simple explanations of the reasons for seasons, the inhospitable climates of polar regions, and some of the adaptations that make animal survival possible. Even more than in Tooth and Claw (2014) and similar titles, the artist based his illustrations on photographs from reference books and pictures of animals in captivity, but in an author’s note he reminds readers that some animals pictured migrate long distances and might also be seen in more temperate climes. With short descriptions filled with the kinds of details that intrigue young readers, he invites his audience to further explorations.

A welcome addition to the eye-catching series that began with Wild Tracks (2008). (suggested reading) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1025-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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