A lovely biology and vocabulary lesson rolled into one.

READ REVIEW

HELLO BUGS, WHAT DO YOU DO?

Close-up images of insects and other arthropods are accompanied by verbs that describe their actions.

On each of the 12 pages, a one-word caption at the bottom of each page answers the titular question. Bees “buzz,” butterflies “flutter,” hornets “sting,” ladybugs “fly,” and so on. Further word choices are particularly expressive, such as “scurry” (an ant), “scuttle” (a wood louse), and “hover” (a dragonfly). Against mottled backgrounds, Botman’s soft pastels provide highly detailed images of the insects and other creatures, but the gentleness of her line keeps each of the critters from looking creepy in close-up. Who knew a centipede (“wiggle”) could be radiant? As none of the creatures are identified, caregivers may be hard-pressed to name a few of the lesser-known species.

A lovely biology and vocabulary lesson rolled into one. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78250-383-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Full of conviction, wisdom, and essential truths.

BECOMING A GOOD CREATURE

Life lessons for young humans gleaned from a lifetime living with other creatures.

Reprised for young readers from Montgomery’s memoir (for adults) How To Be a Good Creature, this picture book’s message is concise and clear: Humans are only one of many creatures to inhabit the Earth, and knowing, respecting, and learning from other creatures will help humans become better creatures themselves. The organization of the story is also clear and concise: A short piece of advice is augmented by a brief story relayed in accessible, direct language from the author’s personal experiences in a lifetime of observing and being around other creatures. “Make Your Own Family” describes the author’s family of hens, a dog, a pig, a husband, and neighbors; the poignant “Trust Tomorrow” relates a dark period that lightened with the unexpected arrival of a dog; and “See For Yourself” relays the author’s observations of the gentleness of the oft-reviled hyena. Other topics include seeking similarity, forgiveness, and the importance of small creatures. Avoiding triteness, the narrative establishes a connection between humans and other creatures as it teaches that respect for the animal world is a good way to become a good human, too. Green’s visually pleasing illustrations are rendered in a warm, earth-hued palette, and they have an uncomplicated design that effectively complements the story’s wise, authentic narrative. Montgomery presents White.

Full of conviction, wisdom, and essential truths. (Picture book/memoir. 3-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-25210-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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