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NIGHT CREEPERS

Beautiful if not quite perfect.

Meet a few of the mostly North American animals that come out at night.

“Waking up. // Noisy pup. // Flutter high. // Gliding by.” The book works equally well for lap-sitters and older children since these rhyming verses accompany longer paragraphs about each species, here red foxes, gray wolves, bats (it appears to be a lesser long-nosed bat), and flying squirrels, respectively. Others include skunks, opossums, bullfrogs, fireflies, raccoons, owls (a barn owl is pictured), bobcats, and white-tail deer. (Of those, skunks and deer are more crepuscular than nocturnal, as are rabbits, one of which is pictured in the final spread.) The information presented covers food, habitat, family life, and adaptations. Highly detailed, sometimes–hyper-realistic illustrations bring these animals to life for readers, though the bright colors and high contrast don’t always make it clear that it’s nighttime. Three-quarters of each double-page spread is devoted to an up-close look at the animal, and the text, easy to read against the background, is usually decorated with a vignette illustration. Troublingly, the firefly page shows a child inspecting a closed jar of the insects, then a tipped-over jar as they fly away. The lid has no holes. A “For Creative Minds” section introduces further vocabulary and concepts and asks readers to sort several species accordingly. It also identifies several animal adaptations and challenges readers to match species to their eyeshine. A Spanish-language paperback edition, Sigilosos de la noche, publishes simultaneously.

Beautiful if not quite perfect. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60718-322-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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FIND MOMO EVERYWHERE

From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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