HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN?

A watertight addition to the venerable Let's Read and Find Out collection. (websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

A straightforward dive into the watery abyss, with passing views of some select exotic residents.

Starting at the tide line, Zoehfeld squires two young explorers—light-skinned, in Puybaret’s steadily darkening paintings (though an initial crowd of beach visitors shows more color range)—into the deep. They go from ankle-deep waters to scuba territory and then in a submersible on down to the Hadal Zone’s pitch-black depths. Along with helpful signposts (“YOU HAVE REACHED THE TWILIGHT ZONE”) and a digestible quantity of identifying labels, budding naturalists will find matter-of-fact descriptions of characteristic creatures at each level, with special focus on the adaptations that allow them to survive. Highlights (lowlights?) include close-ups of giant tube worms clustered around a hydrothermal vent and a dramatic encounter between a giant squid and a sperm whale. A pair of low-effort science activities and a glimpse at how ocean depths have been measured round out the expedition. Readers will surface with not only a better understanding of the diversity of ocean life, but a firmer grasp of how little we really know about vasty deeps that have seen fewer human visitors than has space.

A watertight addition to the venerable Let's Read and Find Out collection. (websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-232820-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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