A winning and wonderful way to foster a child’s fascination for wildlife.

FIONA'S FRIENDS

Fiona, the photogenic baby hippo, returns with a menagerie of baby animal friends.

Although Fiona’s fabulous face graces only the cover and three interior pages of this compact, sturdy board book, the pulchritudinous pachyderm’s eponymous friends provide plenty of interest for animal-loving tots and toddlers. Our hippo heroine’s youthful playmates represent 10 different species and include a baby rhinoceros, a red panda, a takin (a Himalayan gnu goat), a manatee, a giraffe, a flamingo, an aardvark, a tiger, a cheetah, and a gorilla. As in Fiona’s previous board-book outing, Fiona’s Feelings, the photographs from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s collection are lovingly curated and thoroughly charming. The text is simple, with each animal’s name and species in one line of a rhymed couplet: “Fiona the hippo loves to play. / Let’s meet some of her friends today! // Kendi the rhino, brave and strong. / Cora the giraffe, twisty and long.” It’s not Shakespeare, but it should delight youngsters by capitalizing on their natural fascination with exotic fauna. While Fiona is clearly a star in her own right, the other animal babies in this volume are equally irresistible. Few sights can compete with a hairless, newborn aardvark sleeping peacefully against its mother’s belly.

A winning and wonderful way to foster a child’s fascination for wildlife. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-936669-68-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Simple, encouraging text, charming photographs, straightforward, unpretentious diversity, and adorable animals—what’s not to...

I LIKE THE FARM

From the I Like To Read series

This entry-level early reader/picture book pairs children with farm animals.

Using a simple, effective template—a full-page photograph on the recto page and a bordered spot photo above the text on the verso—Rotner delivers an amiable picture book that presents racially and ethnically diverse kids interacting (mostly in the cuddling department) with the adult and baby animals typically found on a farm. Chickens, chicks, cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, pigs, piglets, cows, and calves are all represented. While a couple of double-page spreads show the larger adult animals—pigs and cows—without a child, most of the rest portray a delighted child hugging a compliant critter. The text, simple and repetitive, changes only the name for the animal depicted in the photo on that spread: “I like the cat”; “I like the piglet.” In this way, reading comprehension for new readers is supported in an enjoyable, appealing way, since the photo of the animal reinforces the new word. It’s hard to go wrong combining cute kids with adorable animals, but special kudos must be given for the very natural way Rotner has included diversity—it’s especially gratifying to see diversity normalized and validated early, at the same time that reading comprehension is taught.

Simple, encouraging text, charming photographs, straightforward, unpretentious diversity, and adorable animals—what’s not to like? (Picture book/early reader. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3833-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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