Smartly focused on characteristics that will most interest young animal admirers, this is an attractive addition to a...

TOOTH & CLAW

THE WILD WORLD OF BIG PREDATORS

Powerful acrylic paintings and detailed pencil sketches introduce awe-inspiring predators whose jaws and claws support their carnivorous diets.

In this sixth album in a series that began with Wild Tracks (2008), Arnosky presents five species of cats, four types of bears and gray wolves. The naturalist covers size, shape and appearance; where these remarkable creatures live; what and how they eat; and how they hunt for their prey. Each section includes a full-page painting of the animal in the wild opposite a page of conversational explanatory text and smaller, labeled sketches. Four fold-out pages provide the opportunity for even more dramatic spreads: a pride of African lions, two heading toward a herd of zebras; a close-up of a sunlit cheetah contrasted with a leopard hiding in a tree; a threatening grizzly bear’s sharp teeth and claws. Pencil sketches show the animals’ skulls and sharp shearing teeth, the different spot patterns of jaguars, leopards and cheetahs, and animal tracks. A sketch of an anaconda’s skull offers an interesting comparison. Occasionally the author describes a personal experience, though for the most part, he observed these animals in captivity, as readers will. Supporting this appealing introduction are solid suggestions for further reading about most species.

Smartly focused on characteristics that will most interest young animal admirers, this is an attractive addition to a popular series. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8624-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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