A simple but effective appreciation.

READ REVIEW

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE LITTLE BROWN BAT

From the Secret Life series

The activities of a young brown bat over his first summer on his own serve as introduction to the most widespread bat species in the U.S.

Pringle weaves information about the lives of these misunderstood mammals into his imagined-from-facts tale of “Otis,” named for his species, Myotis lucifugus. As always, this veteran science writer mostly avoids anthropomorphization, describing actions with lively language that’s fun to read aloud: “Otis zigs and zags, flutters and dives, hovers and swoops, dips and swerves….He is finding, chasing, catching, and eating insects.” To begin, there’s a flashback to the bat’s puphood, nursing from his mother. The story proceeds with a night of hunting and a detailed explanation of how Otis catches insects in flight. He meets prey whose ability to hear ultrasound clicks helps them escape and a predator, an owl, that he avoids. After the summer feeding, Otis flies far to join others in a cave, mate (mentioned, not described), and hibernate until spring. The conclusion of this simple story demonstrates the importance of these bats to our lives: When they return in the spring, “Lots of mosquitoes and other insects will be in big trouble!” Appropriate vocabulary introduces relevant concepts. The species-threatening white-nose syndrome is described in an afterword for adult readers. Garchinsky’s darkly atmospheric illustrations, created with pastels and aqua crayons on textured paper, will show well at storytime.

A simple but effective appreciation. (author’s note, glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62979-601-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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There are better fish in the board-book sea.

SHARKS

From the Science for Toddlers series

Dramatic stock photos and die-cut tabs are the distinguishing features of this board book.

“Did you know that there are over 400 types of sharks?” is an intriguing opening, but readers primed to find out about those specific types may be surprised that the shark on the facing page is not identified. Instead, the picture of a shark above a school of fish gives a sense of its size. Smaller text explains that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone. Layered die cuts that accentuate the nose and mouth of nine different sharks on the right-hand pages invite children to turn the pages quickly. White type printed against various contrasting colors on the left-hand pages offers tidbits of information but is unlikely to make young children pause long enough to be read the text. A picture of almost 40 sharks swimming together seems to contradict the accompanying explanation that many sharks are endangered. A final full-color spread speaks of sharks’ important role in maintaining ocean balance and includes a picture of a grandfatherly shark scientist. The back cover is devoted to information for adults. While intriguing and scientifically credible, the wordy text and seemingly arbitrary factoids are well beyond the attention spans of all but the most avid young fans of the species.

There are better fish in the board-book sea. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2128-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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