An excellent introduction to habitats.

WHERE IN THE WILD

Several animals—including a sea horse, a camel, and a meerkat—talk in rhyming couplets about themselves and their different, respective habitats.

Large lettering on the verso of the first lush, colorful, collagelike double-page spread—this one featuring river-loving flora and fauna—proclaims: “Across the world, on land and sea, / Are creatures living wild and free. / And each one has a precious home— / A ‘habitat,’ its place to roam.” On the recto, an otter explains why it considers the river its home and then tells a little about its own characteristics. Every habitat mentioned similarly features a rhyming introduction followed by a denizen’s direct address. Scansion is perfect throughout, and the verses give accurate facts about nature—other than the poetic license that requires a golden eagle to smile for the sake of a rhyme. The layout features this bonus: a cutout window in each spread that cleverly shows an animal in one habitat that can adapt to the habitat described on the adjacent spread. These creatures receive an additional, prose gloss. River, rainforest, savanna, desert, forest, plain, mountain/evergreen forest, tundra, and ocean each receive one double-page spread of habitat glory—glorious indeed in color and layout—with predators safely distanced from prey. One caveat: The narrating animal is not always immediately obvious, so the youngest viewers will need adult help in animal identification. Endnotes urge protection of ecosystems.

An excellent introduction to habitats. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68010-104-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A cool concept a tad undermined by geographical overreach.

LITTLE DANDELION SEEDS THE WORLD

Dandelion seeds travel the world.

The story opens on an urban scene (possibly Cape Town) of a Black child whimsically blowing a dandelion, one fluffy seed floating “far, far away” to an undisclosed African plain. The book continues to describe the manner in which the seeds travel with the repeated refrain “swish, swirl, one hundred seeds fly.” The seeds are carried far and wide: one on the ear of a cheetah, another hitchhiking on a pant leg across the sea, a third in a bird’s droppings. The Howdeshells’ art is vibrant and engaging, taking care to include a diverse array of human racial presentations and details that establish each setting, the textured images focusing on indigenous fauna as the seeds fly. Of particular note is the lovely cover depicting a Black girl with natural hair. The seeds travel to Asia, Australia, North America, South America, and Europe. The entire globe is covered, including Antarctica, stretching a bit to match the conceit. An author’s note claims that “even chilly Antarctica has dandelions on the shoreline of South Georgia Island” as evidence for the plant’s reach to all seven continents. Whether South Georgia Island is part of Antarctica is arguable; it’s too bad the book makes this bland assertion. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 20.8% of actual size.)

A cool concept a tad undermined by geographical overreach. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5341-1053-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Captivating—and not a bit terrifying.

SHARKBLOCK

From the Block Books series

Catering to young scientists, naturalists, and Shark Week fans–to-be, this visually arresting volume presents a good deal of information in easily digested bites.

Like others in the Block Books series, this book feels both compact and massive. When closed, it is 5.5 inches across, 6.5 inches tall, and nearly 2 inches thick, weighty and solid, with stiff cardboard pages that boast creative die cuts and numerous fold-out three- and four-panel tableaux. While it’s possible it’s not the only book with a dorsal fin, it certainly must be among the best. The multiracial cast of aquarium visitors includes a Sikh man with his kids and a man of color who uses a wheelchair; there they discover the dramatic degree of variations among sharks. The book begins with a trip to a shark exhibit, complete with a megalodon jaw. The text points out that there are over 400 known types of sharks alive today, then introduces 18 examples, including huge whale sharks, tiny pocket sharks, and stealthy, well-camouflaged wobbegongs. Reef sharks prowl the warm waters of the surface, while sand tiger sharks explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Bioluminescent catsharks reside at the bottom of an inky black flap that folds down, signifying the deepest ocean depths, where no sunlight penetrates. Great whites get star treatment with four consecutive two-page spreads; their teeth and appetite impress but don’t horrify. The book does a wonderful job of highlighting the interconnectedness of species and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4119-7

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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