A simple but effective appreciation.

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 good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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