Another feather in McCloskey’s cap.

READ REVIEW

THE REAL POOP ON PIGEONS

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. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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