PANDA KINDERGARTEN

Ryder’s latest focuses on the care and learning opportunities that are given to new panda cubs at China’s Wolong Nature Preserve. Beginning with birth, the author describes how panda mothers care for their newborns and how the Preserve helps. While pandas often have twins, mothers can only care for one baby at a time, so workers and mother trade babies each week, allowing each twin to receive the care it needs. Once large enough to leave their mothers, they enter panda kindergarten—a large playground where they can learn, explore, play, make friends with the other cubs and learn the skills they will need to survive in the wild, should they be released (some will stay at the center to give birth to the next batch of cubs). Dr. Feng’s adorable photos are the highlight here, the hugely photogenic black-and-white faces compensating for an occasionally overenthusiastic text. While this is a good choice for younger readers, for depth of information, counting practice and background on the Wolong Reserve, Sandra Markle’s How Many Baby Pandas? (2008) is a better choice. (panda facts) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-057850-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Collins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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BAT LOVES THE NIGHT

Bat (a pipistrelle) wakes up, flies out into the night to eat, and returns home to feed her young. The narrative, in large type, gives much of the information about bats in a voice that can work as a read-aloud (“Gliding and fluttering back and forth, she shouts her torch of sound among the trees, listening for her supper”), while smaller type on some pages elaborates (“Using sound to find your way like this is called echolocation”). The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, in browns and blues, hint of night, without being too dark. Close-up views of plants and animals show detail, while wider sweeping landscapes give context and a sense of space. The details of Bat’s fur and face do justice to this mammal, which many young kids may still think of as “gross.” This is useful as a very first introduction to bats, but readers will need to go farther to answer some questions (like what kinds of bats do eat “fruit, fish, frogs, even blood!”). And while there is an index of 15 terms, there is no bibliography. Nevertheless, this is a beautifully designed and thoughtfully executed informational storybook. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1202-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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