GONE AGAIN PTARMIGAN

Spectacular paintings show the Ptarmigan, or Arctic grouse, through the seasons as he struggles to survive both the harsh climate and a host of predators. The tale begins with white and silvery scenes of the Arctic winter, with the snowshoe hare, lemming, and pure white Ptarmigan evading a lynx, snowy owl, weasel, and wolverine. In summer the Ptarmigan, wearing the dappled brown feathers that help the adult birds and chicks blend into the thick brush, faces still more predators. The artist provides double-paged layouts, using acrylic paints on Masonite board to capture the drama of the land and inhabitants, changing his palette for each season and animal. The snowy owl is white and silver against a silver-gray sky and pale, lemon moon. The red fox shimmers “flame colored in the low sun,” as he leaps amid the gold September leaves and slender, white tree trunks. In winter the ptarmigan huddles in the snow, blue and white against the iridescent northern lights. The Alaskan artist often includes thumbnail sketches inside the paintings to show details, a clutch of eggs, the feathered foot of the ptarmigan, a newly hatched chick. The lyrical text, with its recurring refrain, “Gone again ptarmigan,” conveys the author’s admiration for the hardy bird and builds excitement on each page. He concludes with additional facts. A solid nature title, with paintings that are a visual delight and a text that reads like poetry. (Nonfiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7561-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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