LOOK FOR LADYBUG IN OCEAN CITY

A bright and bubbly outing for confident seek-and-find fans.

An errant ladybug once again wanders off to lead animal detectives Daisy (a pink-and-brown–striped rabbit) and Basil (a blue lizard with red baseball cap worn backward) on a merry chase.

It was tough enough to Look for Ladybug in Plant City (2017)—here, the undersea realm offers 10 more big, populous, and bewilderingly busy sites artfully designed to conceal the mischievous mite from searching eyes. As if the challenge of picking Ladybug out from the swirling plethora of small, red, spotted sea creatures in each scene weren’t enough, Manolessou tucks in dozens of additional figures to winkle out. Readers are prompted to find (among others): one crab on a swing in Octopus Gardens and another wearing eight hard hats at a building site; an octopus holding four brushes near the thermal vent spa (featuring signs for various attractions as “Salt Scrubs” and “Mud Jacuzzis” as well as slogans urging visitors to “Go With the Flow” and “Let Your Hair Down”); a Portrait of a Fish With a Pearl Earring at the Ocean City Museum; and five sea snakes in every picture. Happily, the perky pet rejoins the exhausted detectives at the end (briefly, anyway)…and equally happily, the author provides a visual key to stave off incipient eyestrain in young viewers.

A bright and bubbly outing for confident seek-and-find fans. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78603-776-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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WE DIG WORMS!

Norma Dixon’s Lowdown on Earthworms (2005) digs deeper into the subject, but this lays fertile groundwork for budding...

Beginning readers who tunnel through this upbeat first introduction will “dig” them too.

After an opening look at several kinds of worm (including the candy sort), McCloskey drills down to the nitty-gritty on earthworms. He describes how they help soil with their digging and “poop” (“EEW!”) and presents full-body inside and outside views with labeled parts. He also answers in the worms’ collective voice such questions as “Why do you come out after the rain?” and “How big is the biggest worm in the world?” that are posed by a multiethnic cast of intent young investigators in the cartoon illustrations. A persistent but frustrated bluebird’s “Yum, yum!!” and rejected invitations to lunch offer indirect references to worms as food sources, and reproductive details are likewise limited to oblique notes that worms have big families “born from cocoons.” Single scenes mingle with short sequences of panels in pictures that are drawn on brown paper bags for an appropriately earthy look.

Norma Dixon’s Lowdown on Earthworms (2005) digs deeper into the subject, but this lays fertile groundwork for budding naturalists. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935179-80-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

THE REAL POOP ON PIGEONS

Another feather in McCloskey’s cap.

Budding naturalists who dug We Dig Worms! (2015) will, well, coo over this similarly enlightening accolade.

A curmudgeonly park visitor’s “They’re RATS with wings!” sparks spirited rejoinders from a racially diverse flock of children wearing full-body bird outfits, who swoop down to deliver a mess of pigeon facts. Along with being related to the dodo, “rock doves” fly faster than a car, mate for life, have been crossbred into all sorts of “fancies,” inspired Pablo Picasso to name his daughter “Paloma” in their honor, can be eaten (“Tastes like chicken”), and, like penguins and flamingos, create “pigeon milk” in their crops for their hatchlings. Painted on light blue art paper—“the kind,” writes McCloskey in his afterword, “used by Picasso”—expertly depicted pigeons of diverse breeds common and fancy strut their stuff, with views of the children and other wild creatures, plus occasional helpful labels, interspersed. In the chastened parkgoer’s eyes, as in those of the newly independent readers to whom this is aimed, the often maligned birds are “wonderful.” Cue a fresh set of costumed children on the final page, gearing up to set him straight on squirrels.

Another feather in McCloskey’s cap. (Graphic informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935179-93-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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