Who can resist puffins with their large eyes, upright posture and bright orange beaks? The clowns of the ocean, puffins spend most of their lives in the north Atlantic, coming ashore for only a few months of the year to breed and raise their chicks. In her first book for children, scientific illustrator Zecca describes and illustrates this process in clear simple language and invitingly detailed gouache-and-colored-pencil illustrations, each a double-page spread. Beginning with the moment when the puffin mates reconnect, she goes on to explain how they prepare their burrow, incubate their single egg and feed the puffling after it hatches until it can take off into the ocean on its own. In an afterword strikingly different in style and tone, Stephen Kress, the director of Project Puffin, reminds readers (or, more likely, the adults presenting the book) of the threat of ocean pollution and global warning and need to support conservation issues; describes his program of puffin restoration in general terms; and points readers to the project’s website. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10. Younger for reading aloud)

Pub Date: June 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-89272-742-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Down East

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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