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From the Secret Life series

An intriguing introduction to a nocturnal and secretive forest dweller.

A year in the life of a flying squirrel.

In this seventh in Pringle’s notable Secret Life series, readers follow Volans, a southern flying squirrel: gliding, foraging, finding a suitable den, raising three tiny babies, and storing food for winter. Garchinsky’s digital paintings bring this beguiling glider to life. Much of the action happens in the dark of night, indicated with shades of blue, green, gray, brown, and even occasionally purple. The straightforward text is set directly on the striking image on the double-page spreads. There are close-ups and more distant views. We see Volans gliding, her flaps, or patagia, spread out, steering with a leg, and landing on all fours. One notable scene has the nimble squirrels snacking from a bird feeder; a cat watching from the ground in the shadows is barely visible. Another shows the sleeping squirrel and three tiny, pink babies in a cozy nest. A threatening raccoon paw gropes inside the tree burrow, but Volans repels the intruder, then moves her babies to another nesting hole. By summer’s end the babies are weaned and on their own. In autumn, these squirrels stock up for a long winter, much of it spent napping in groups in tree hollows, a fitting conclusion to a busy year. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An intriguing introduction to a nocturnal and secretive forest dweller. (more about flying squirrels, glossary, further reading) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-63592-529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Astra Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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From the Henry and Mudge series

Rylant (Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, 1998, etc.) slips into a sentimental mode for this latest outing of the boy and his dog, as she sends Mudge and Henry and his parents off on a camping trip. Each character is attended to, each personality sketched in a few brief words: Henry's mother is the camping veteran with outdoor savvy; Henry's father doesn't know a tent stake from a marshmallow fork, but he's got a guitar for campfire entertainment; and the principals are their usual ready-for-fun selves. There are sappy moments, e.g., after an evening of star- gazing, Rylant sends the family off to bed with: ``Everyone slept safe and sound and there were no bears, no scares. Just the clean smell of trees . . . and wonderful green dreams.'' With its nice tempo, the story is as toasty as its campfire and swaddled in Stevenson's trusty artwork. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81175-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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