This leads the way among lovely books about elephants for young children.

READ REVIEW

SHE LEADS

THE ELEPHANT MATRIARCH

Leading her herd, a majestic elephant teaches, guides, and inspires.

An elephant group or family is a matriarchal society, usually led by the eldest female among them. The matriarch’s most important jobs are to lead the group to food and water, to teach new mothers how to care for their young, and to protect her family from enemies and threats. She comforts and helps care for orphaned calves and keeps a watchful eye over the youngsters as they grow. Under the matriarch’s expert tutelage, group members learn all the skills they need so a new “queen” will be able to assume leadership after her death. This fascinating, fact-filled look at an awesome elephant matriarch shepherding her family will fill readers with wonder and, not so coincidentally, will likely inspire human girls to feel empowered about their own leadership abilities. The text is presented twofold: as a sweet, simple story on double-page spreads and, in a smaller font throughout, as rich factual information. The illustrations, near-photographic in their realism, are exceptional. With gentle, muted background colors to enhance the elephants’ gray hides, the artwork provides true, endearing depictions of these marvelous animals in their habitat (Africa, judging by their ears). Illustrations presenting young elephants are delightful; one heart-rending scene depicts a tearful elder beside a deceased matriarch.

This leads the way among lovely books about elephants for young children. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64170-232-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A soaring read-aloud that makes the rare national bird of the Philippines accessible to young environmentalists.

AN EAGLE'S FEATHER

A pair of critically endangered Philippine eagles in captivity aspire to life in the wild despite growing developments surrounding them.

“Flying high above the forest of Tambala at sunrise, Kalayaan spots a monkey. Food! / The young Philippine eagle swoops down to follow the monkey. Where did it go?” In concise and evenly paced text, Kalayaan is pursuing his prey when “BOOM!”: He is shot by a hunter. Luckily he is rescued by a father and son before “everything turns dark.” Upon awakening he meets Pinpin, a female eagle bred in captivity. Pinpin informs him that he is in rehabilitation and is optimistic that both can be released in the wild. Alvarez, a Philippine-based artist, illuminates the eagles’ dreams of the forest with bleeding layers of pastel-hued watercolors embellished with highlighting patterns. While they wait for Kalayaan to recover, both birds discuss how “the forest has been cut down for timber, so that eagles have less and less space to hunt for food.” Ho successfully addresses the complex issues with clarity without detracting from the heart of the story. Both eagles eventually find a hope-filled conclusion. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

A soaring read-aloud that makes the rare national bird of the Philippines accessible to young environmentalists. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943645-23-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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