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


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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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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A good choice for a late fall storytime.



Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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