A tongue-in-cheek look at snakes that will make kids giggle.



A humorous picture book explores what snakes can and can’t do.

Snakes can’t wear shoes or gloves, of course, because they have no feet or hands—but can they wear a scarf? “Well,” writes Tills, “maybe a long, long one.” A mix of kid-savvy, funny-bone entertainment, and clearly expressed, simple facts about snake physiology and behavior, this story for children, from toddlers to early readers, will make adults smile, too. (Birds have two legs, the author observes, adding, “flamingos think they have one.”) In tandem with the humor, Tills informs her audience that even though snakes don’t have feet, they do have “tiny belly muscles” that allow them to coil and twist their bodies and slither “on the ground, up a tree, or in the water.” The author frames some of the story’s black-and-white images by GetYourBookIllustrations of a goofy, polka-dot snake and other cartoon-style animals on full-page backgrounds of saturated colors, many patterned with a reptilian scale motif. Other pictures are positioned on white pages and accented with colorful shapes. The book concludes with a gentle segue from Tills presenting comic and factual reasons that show snakes are “wonderful” to asking children to name something that makes them “wonderful,” too. The snake and his friends appear to be interested in the response. This work is part of the author’s Awesome Animals series, which includes Pigs Never Sweat! (2021).

A tongue-in-cheek look at snakes that will make kids giggle.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73670-040-2

Page Count: 27

Publisher: FDI Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.


A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Certain to steal hearts.


In this follow-up to 2020’s The One and Only Bob, Ruby the elephant is still living at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary.

She’s apprehensive about her Tuskday, a rite of passage for young elephants when she’ll give a speech in front of the rest of the herd. Luckily, she can confide in her Uncle Ivan, who is next door in Gorilla World, and Uncle Bob, the dog who lives nearby with human friend Julia. Ruby was born in an unspecified part of Africa, later ending up on display in the mall, where she met Ivan, Bob, and Julia. The unexpected arrival of someone from Ruby’s past life on the savanna revives memories both warmly nostalgic and deeply traumatic. An elephant glossary and Castelao’s charming, illustrated guide to elephant body language help immerse readers in Ruby’s world. Goofy, playful, and mischievous Ruby is fully dimensional, as she has shown her bravery during the many hardships of her young life. Applegate deftly tempers themes of grief and loss with compassion and humor as Ruby finds her place in the herd. The author’s note touches on climate change, the illegal ivory trade, and conservation efforts, but the highly emotive framing of the story through the memories of a bewildered baby elephant emphasizes the impact of lines such as “ ‘in Africa,’ I say softly, ‘there were bad people,’ ” without offering readers a nuanced understanding of the broader context that drives poaching.

Certain to steal hearts. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9780063080089

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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