Another successful collaboration that will win minds and hearts.

SPIRIT OF THE CHEETAH

A SOMALI TALE

Roblay wants to win the big race to prove he is a man; will his grandfather’s advice lead him to success?

Mohammed and Williams (Four Feet, Two Sandals, illustrated by Doug Chayka, 2007) team up again to tell a tale of a boy in Somalia who draws on tradition to excel. After irritating many with his constant practice, running everywhere, Roblay does not win a top spot in the village race. Disappointed, he gets advice from his grandfather, Awoowo, who tells him he must capture the spirit of the mighty Shabelle River by leaving his thumbprint on the coat of a cheetah, for which the river is named. All year long, Roblay watches the cheetah from the opposite side of the river, studying her movements, running when she runs. On the morning of the next year’s race, Roblay has just one thing left to do to guarantee his success. Roblay’s personal goal, his supportive family, and his rich cultural tradition weave together in a lovely story of determination and perseverance. Cairns’ illustrations use delicate strokes to depict vast, green natural landscapes, simple homes, and dignified people who respect the local wildlife. Readers will delight in the suspense and satisfaction that build and bind this layered tale.

Another successful collaboration that will win minds and hearts. (cheetah facts) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-937786-85-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

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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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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