A patchy production, visually absorbing at its best but hampered by a banal and unsystematic text.

Wild animals by the score pose in plain sight or hide beneath die-cut flaps in 12 natural habitats around the world.

Designed as a companion for Jenny Broom’s city tour Walk This World, illustrated by Lotta Nieminen (2013), Brewster’s gallery of broad land- and seascapes is free of human figures but teems with distinctive flora and fauna. His figures are occasionally stylized, but he depicts them with reasonable accuracy and shows them in natural, though seldom active poses. Baker’s narrative is likewise a bit stodgy. She gives each locale a rhyming overview, muffing the final one slightly: “The shifting sands of the Australian desert / shimmer in the searing heat / and hidden far beneath the dunes / nocturnal creatures safely sleep.” In addition, she offers perfunctory observations about one to four animals (or, rarely, plants) that are revealed by peeling up the small rectangular flaps on each free page: “The rare Asian arowana or ‘dragon fish’ swims in the deep pools”; “The ibis uses its long curved bill to search for food”; etc. A map at the end retraces the overall route and provides a general sense of each scene’s location. Even though some creatures are very small or too dimly lit to make out, and many others are unidentified, at least the art will give animal lovers plenty to pore over.

A patchy production, visually absorbing at its best but hampered by a banal and unsystematic text. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78370-541-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018


Chicken sexer? Breath odor evaluator? Cryptozoologist? Island caretaker? The choices dazzle! (Informational picture book....

From funeral clown to cheese sculptor, a tally of atypical trades.

This free-wheeling survey, framed as a visit to “The Great Hall of Jobs,” is designed to shake readers loose from simplistic notions of the world of work. Labarre opens with a generic sculpture gallery of, as she puts it, “The Classics”—doctor, dancer, farmer, athlete, chef, and the like—but quickly moves on, arranging busy cartoon figures by the dozen in kaleidoscopic arrays, with pithy captions describing each occupation. As changes of pace she also tucks in occasional challenges to match select workers (Las Vegas wedding minister, “ethical” hacker, motion-capture actor) with their distinctive tools or outfits. The actual chances of becoming, say, the queen’s warden of the swans or a professional mattress jumper, not to mention the nitty-gritty of physical or academic qualifications, income levels, and career paths, are left largely unspecified…but along with noting that new jobs are being invented all the time (as, in the illustration, museum workers wheel in a “vlogger” statue), the author closes with the perennial insight that it’s essential to love what you do and the millennial one that there’s nothing wrong with repeatedly switching horses midstream. The many adult figures and the gaggle of children (one in a wheelchair) visiting the “Hall” are diverse of feature, sex, and skin color.

Chicken sexer? Breath odor evaluator? Cryptozoologist? Island caretaker? The choices dazzle! (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1219-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019


Two-digit subtraction is the subject of this MathStart picture book, which beats its one-note song slowly and relentlessly. Murphy builds this story, the latest in his series of math fundamentals, around a group of young shark swimmers who have a chance to attend swim camp if they can complete 75 laps among themselves over a week’s time. The coach has set up an easel by the pool, tallying their laps and then subtracting them from the running total on the easel. And that, quite simply, is how far Murphy takes the narrative, if such flimsy material can be called a story. There is nothing here to entice any child who is anxious, uninterested, or confused about math to get involved with either the subtraction or the story angle of the book. Murphy might just as well have presented a handful of subtraction problems on each page and forgotten all about the vapid story line, because the only kids who will find interest in these pages are those who really love mathematics, and there isn’t enough here for them to chew on to any satisfaction. (Picture book. 7-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-028030-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

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