This hybrid of poetic text with factual sidebars adequately serves its purpose as a way to interest early grade schoolers in...

CHEETAH DREAMS

As people create more farms in the areas of the African continent formerly populated by cheetahs, the animals have become endangered.

Incorporating two different writing styles in each double-page spread, Stanek aims to appeal to young readers’ emotions and intellect. A poem that begins: “I dream of cheetahs / racing on / across the bright savanna” runs throughout the book, ending with the repetitive phrase: “I dream of cheetahs / racing on… // …extinction / far behind them.” Accompanying the poem’s lines, a factual text explains cheetah behavior and some of the reasons for their endangerment and potential extinction, including increased human activity in their traditional habitat, causing a phenomenon known as “fragmented territory” which “makes it difficult for cheetahs to find mates.” The lines of the poem, which could be read aloud separately to a fairly young audience, and accompanying illustration take up three-quarters of each spread. Varying vertical, generically African-patterned borders break up the right-hand pages, separating the clearly written prose from the poem. The animal paintings, detailed and engaging, are the highlight of this useful book, but the few illustrations of humans are stiff and less successful. Several teaching activities round out the book, with more resources provided by the publisher to be found online. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback.

This hybrid of poetic text with factual sidebars adequately serves its purpose as a way to interest early grade schoolers in the plight of one endangered species. (bibliography) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-727-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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