A warm and fuzzy look at animals living with disabilities.

Emerson profiles three animals with disabilities featured in The Dodo’s “Little but Fierce” online video series.

In two to three sentences per page, the author introduces a tiny trio. Vera, a French bulldog, “could fit into a teacup,” and her cleft palate made eating difficult; Cody, an alpaca, was too small to stand on her own; and Karamel, a squirrel, was injured in a trap, necessitating the amputation of her four legs (referred to as “arms”). Fortunately, patient humans nursed each back to relative health: “It only takes a little love to make a BIG difference!” Fans of cuddly animals will enjoy the cheery color photos as Vera mugs at the camera, Cody poses in a unicorn costume, and Karamel zooms with her wheeled prostheses. Kids with disabilities may find their furry counterparts comforting or cool. Though the text frames the plucky animals’ disabilities positively, it occasionally does so via clichés that humans with disabilities encounter all too often—though Vera is small, she “doesn’t let that stop her”; Cody “may be tiny, but her heart is BIG!” The page layout is rather busy. Against a graph-paper background, bright blue, green, pink, and yellow borders and text boxes compete with photos and text; occasional blue text against blue background is somewhat hard to read. A glossary defines terms printed in the narrative in boldface, such as “surgery” and “prosthetic.”

A warm and fuzzy look at animals living with disabilities. (Informational early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57619-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019



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


A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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