Full of the eww factor, up-to-date facts and kid appeal, this splendid, gory introduction is not for the faint of heart!...

NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS

HUNTING WITH THE GREAT WHITES OF CALIFORNIA'S FARALLON ISLANDS

Every fall, great white sharks return to feed on the seals and sea lions that migrate to the Farallon Islands just off the San Francisco coast, providing an opportunity for scientific study.

Combining informative text with expressive paintings, done in ink, pencil, watercolor and gouache, Roy explains how these apex predators function. The endpapers set the stage, looking out toward the distant islands through the Golden Gate Bridge in front and back at the California shoreline from high over the islands at the end. In an early series of stunning paintings, the shark’s meal is revealed in three spreads before the wordless fourth shows the strike; the water swirls, and the seal is captured in the shark’s toothy mouth. Bloody water surrounds the shark in the next picture. Subsequent pages explain why the seal is a perfect meal and highlight the shark’s streamlined body, warmed blood, superior vision, endless teeth, and projectile jaws that contribute to its success as a hunter. For this debut picture book, the author joined researchers who tag and follow these sharks, and she’s distilled their findings in a way that’s sure to attract young readers. The backmatter provides further information, sources and suggested reading.

Full of the eww factor, up-to-date facts and kid appeal, this splendid, gory introduction is not for the faint of heart! (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-874-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: David Macaulay Studio/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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