A work to be savored by young artists and scientists.

WINTER BEES & OTHER POEMS OF THE COLD

How do animals survive and thrive in the bitter cold of winter in the northern tundra?

Sidman explains and celebrates their remarkable adaptations in a collection of carefully constructed and delightfully varied poems. The moose calf is naturally built for cold and brags about all his achievements in a lilting, rhyming verse. The tundra swans rest in the marshes and wait for the right time to migrate south as they dream lovely images of their flight. The winter bees huddle in a warm, humming mass. With lines repeated in the strict organization of a pantoum poem, the beavers dart about in complete silence in the watery space beneath the ice. In dual-voiced verse, the raven and wolf exhort each other to be watchful and successful in their hunting. Other animals, along with trees and snowflakes, take their turns in the stark beauty surrounding them. The final two poems hint at the coming of spring. Fascinating, detailed information about the subjects accompanies each poem. The poems appear on the left, with the factual material on the right of double-page spreads, while Allen’s intricate, unusual and exquisite illustrations take center stage. They are rendered in a combination of media, including large numbers of cut, inked and hand-colored linoleum blocks, which are then digitized and layered; the result is magic.

A work to be savored by young artists and scientists. (glossary) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-90650-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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DONUTS AND DANGER

From the Max Meow series , Vol. 2

Max and Mindy are back in action and must face old foes and nefarious new look-alikes.

Max Meow, feline resident of Kittyopolis, is secretly the superhero Cat Crusader, and he’s excited to no longer work solo. His BSFF (Best Science Friend Forever), brown-skinned human Mindy, has gained powers and created her own superhero persona, Science Kitty. Problem is, she puts so much pressure on herself to be perfect that she’s too scared to be a hero out in public. When havoc is wreaked at Food Fest, followed by a series of robberies, not only is the world of donut sales in peril, but the whole city is in danger. Old and new villains team up, and Cat Crusader will need Science Kitty’s skills—even if they are imperfect—in order to save the day and the donuts. This book tries to do a lot and isn’t always successful: An overabundance of plot points and characters makes it lack focus and overall cohesion. The more the story progresses, the messier and more jumbled it becomes, bogging down the pace. The lesson about the pitfalls of perfectionism does add some depth, and the brightly colored cartoon art plus the combination of silliness, science, and superpowers make this tale inviting. Fans of the first book may enjoy spending more time with these cool cats, but hopefully their next adventure will be smoother.

Overstuffed. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12108-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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