This nicely culled selection of facts provides glimpses of the chosen animals in an enjoyable and interesting approach.



Several global animals and birds organized by their collective names are briefly described along with habitats and behaviors in four-line rhymed couplets.

Digital drawings emulate a crayon/marker style and reveal a particular species arrayed in different poses across colorful double-page spreads. “A SLOTH of BEARS”: “Wrapped up warm in fuzzy suits, / they fill themselves with nuts and fruits, / then snooze the winter days away / until it’s spring, when they can play.” Brown bears, black bears, polar bears, a panda, and others are shown in trees and rivers and near ice-capped mountains, growling, waving, eating fish, and sleeping. As an added activity, several search-and-find questions ask children to carefully explore the illustrations for answers. “Who’s scratching his head?” The collective names are intriguing—who can’t love “a conspiracy of lemurs” and “a lounge of lizards”? Readers may notice that lesser-known variations are used, such as “a company of angelfish” rather than “school” and “a bouquet of hummingbirds” rather than “charm.” Two further pages ask readers to take a second look at each preceding spread, offering an additional question and image to find for each animal presented. A “Who’s Who” addendum offers an extra paragraph of information for each.

This nicely culled selection of facts provides glimpses of the chosen animals in an enjoyable and interesting approach. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0279-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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


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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There are better fish in the board-book sea.


From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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