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

A PANDEMONIUM OF PARROTS AND OTHER ANIMALS

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 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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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

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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