Solid, appealing nonfiction for the younger set.




Home is where the heart is…and the bears, gorillas, raccoons, rabbits, anteaters, etc.

In this interesting, information-packed book, Judge brings home for younger readers facts about the kinds of dwellings a variety of mammals live in with their young. Each class of residence is introduced by a two-page spread featuring a simple sentence that identifies homes by general concepts rather than specific types or construction methods: “A home can be hidden”; “A home can cover many miles of open country”; “A home can be built by an architect”; “A home can be crowded”; and others. Following these openers are spreads that describe, in clear, instructive, well-written paragraphs, the actual, specific kinds of homes lived in and built by two or three different, relevant animals, as in the black bears’ den under a tree, the bobcats’ nest in a rocky crevice, and the porcupines’ home in a hollow log—all examples of “hidden.” In conclusion, the book equates animals’ needs for safety and shelter with those of humans. The paintings on the introductory spreads and text pages are true, endearing winners, depicting realistic, adorable, close-knit animal families in their homes and habitats. In the backmatter, enhancing the book’s appeal and usefulness, are additional facts about each animal named in the text, a glossary, sources, and websites.

Solid, appealing nonfiction for the younger set. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-724-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad.



A capsule history of space exploration, from early stargazing to probes roaming the surface of Mars.

In loosely rhymed couplets Carter’s high-speed account zooms past the inventions of constellations, telescopes, and flying machines to the launches of Sputnik I, the “Saturn Five” (spelled out, probably, to facilitate the rhyme) that put men on the moon, and later probes. He caps it all with an enticing suggestion: “We’ll need an astronaut (or two)— / so what do you think? Could it be YOU?” Cushley lines up a notably diverse array of prospective young space travelers for this finish, but anachronistic earlier views of a dark-skinned astronaut floating in orbit opposite poetic references to the dogs, cats, and other animals sent into space in the 1950s and a model of the space shuttle on a shelf next to a line of viewers watching the televised moon landing in 1969 show no great regard for verisimilitude. Also, his full-page opening picture of the Challenger, its ports painted to look like a smiley face, just moments before it blew up is a decidedly odd choice to illustrate the poem’s opening countdown. As with his cosmological lyric Once upon a Star (2018, illustrated by Mar Hernández), the poet closes with a page of further facts arranged as an acrostic.

Phoned-in illustrations keep this quick overview firmly planted on the launch pad. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-147-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.


From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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