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

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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

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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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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