A SONGBIRD DREAMS OF SINGING

POEMS ABOUT SLEEPING ANIMALS

At once eye-closing and eye-opening.

Somniferous verses, paired with scientific observations, survey styles of sleep in the animal world.

Firmly in control of language and rhyme schemes but varying tone and tempo as she goes, Hosford marvels at the sleep habits of 18 creatures. These range from sperm whales (“Oh mighty mothers of the sea / Why do you slumber vertically?”) to fire ants (“You didn’t know, perhaps / That this ant takes power naps. / It’s quite a short collapse. / (Sixty seconds will elapse.) / How many naps will there be? / About two hundred and fifty-three.” In the substantial prose glosses that accompany each short poem, she offers further downtime marvels, such as how some whales sleep head up or head down, or even drift between the two positions, and a tale of a desert snail that was exhibited at the British Museum as an empty shell for four years, then successfully revived. Nor does she leave readers in the dark about how some animals rest parts of their brains in succession or the differences among nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, and cathemeral creatures, covering these facts in an opening author’s note. In Potter’s suitably dreamy, subdued illustrations, floating sea otters hold paws, ocelot cubs nestle in a cozy hollow, a “flamboyance” of flamingos stand one-legged in shallow water, and even an upside-down jellyfish (“It isn’t easy to explain / How she’s so smart / without a brain”) looks drowsy.

At once eye-closing and eye-opening. (glossary) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6714-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

OVER AND UNDER THE WAVES

From the Over and Under series

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature.

In a new entry in the Over and Under series, a paddleboarder glimpses humpback whales leaping, floats over a populous kelp forest, and explores life on a beach and in a tide pool.

In this tale inspired by Messner’s experiences in Monterey Bay in California, a young tan-skinned narrator, along with their light-skinned mom and tan-skinned dad, observes in quiet, lyrical language sights and sounds above and below the sea’s serene surface. Switching perspectives and angles of view and often leaving the family’s red paddleboards just tiny dots bobbing on distant swells, Neal’s broad seascapes depict in precise detail bat stars and anchovies, kelp bass, and sea otters going about their business amid rocky formations and the swaying fronds of kelp…and, further out, graceful moon jellies and—thrillingly—massive whales in open waters beneath gliding pelicans and other shorebirds. After returning to the beach at day’s end to search for shells and to spot anemones and decorator crabs, the child ends with nighttime dreams of stars in the sky meeting stars in the sea. Appended nature notes on kelp and 21 other types of sealife fill in details about patterns and relationships in this rich ecosystem. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

More thoughtful, sometimes exhilarating encounters with nature. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-79720-347-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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