Using the same question-and-answer format as her previous entries in this easy reader series, Holub (Why Do Horses Neigh?, above, etc.) offers some basic information about rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. After a couple of introductory pages detailing what the creatures have in common, the first half of the work focuses on rabbits’ appearance and behavior, and the second half concentrates on the other animals. The author includes some interesting facts, especially about rabbit behavior, but the structure causes some repetition, for example, in the description of number of babies born to each type of animal and the type of toys preferred. Each page begins with a leading question in purple type, followed by an answer and further additional information. The short sentences are presented in large type set off by lots of white space, with parenthetical pronunciation guides for difficult terms. This feature is not consistently utilized, however, as pronunciations are not given for guinea, gerbil, and Guiana. Attractive full-color photographs, often in the knock-out format against a white background popularized by DK, are combined with amusing watercolor and ink illustrations to create a pleasingly varied presentation. The wider topic with this format does not work quite as well as the other volumes in Holub’s series, but the newly fluent reader interested in furry little critters will still find this an interesting and informational read. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8037-2771-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002



The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005



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

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