WHALES!

STRANGE AND WONDERFUL

From the Strange and Wonderful series

From a take-notice beginning (“If you were a great whale, you could open your mouth wide enough to hold an elephant”) to a thoughtful treatment of whale conservation at the end, Pringle (Crows, 2002, etc.) does a bang-up job on his 100th outing. Here he covers all aspects of the giants, from physiology to diet to migration, and all types, from narwhals with their spiral tusks (really a left tooth) to blue whales that grow to be 100 feet long (and eat four tons of food a day). Pringle’s smooth prose explains not only the what, but the why of whales—they can grow so big, for example, because the water they live in supports their weight. Henderson’s annotated watercolors dramatize and enliven the text, as well as provide a useful sense of scale. A rare nonfiction picture book that works beautifully as a read-aloud, as a whole, it’s as wonderful as the whales. (Nonfiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-56397-439-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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UNDER THE SNOW

A snow-covered countryside may look barren of life, but Stewart’s quiet text takes readers under the blanket of white to “a hidden world” where ladybugs sleep en masse and voles tunnel from tree to tree, where a wood frog freezes safely solid and bluegills and waterboatmen share frigid waters, where a turtle lies buried in mud and “even on the coldest winter days, red-spotted newts dodge and dart, whiz and whirl just below the ice.” Bergum’s equally quiet watercolors spread across the pages in panels that offer cross-sections and magnified details to give readers glimpses of the world beneath the snow. Their precision lends a dignity and beauty even to a sleeping centipede and a barbeled carp. Readers will come away with an appreciation for the adaptability and endurance of the animal world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-56145-493-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2009

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