LIFETIME

THE AMAZING NUMBERS IN ANIMAL LIVES

Kudos for not dumbing it down, however. A more cohesive theme would make for a more understandable overall presentation, but...

An original concept that begins simply and ends up surprisingly—and somewhat confusingly—complex.

Award winner Schaefer and illustrator Neal team up to create a picture book about the number of times particular events occur in the lifetimes of 11 different animals. Neal’s illustrations—appealingly retro in their understated style and muted color scheme—accurately portray the numeric facts presented: “In one lifetime, this female red kangaroo will birth 50 joeys”—and voilà, there’s a double-page spread of 50 baby kangaroos. Readers (or listeners) will enjoy counting the joeys, sea horses, alligator eggs or spots on the giraffe. It’s all fun and games until the backmatter arrives. Then, facts about each animal (Latin name, habitat, lifespan) and convoluted mathematical explanations of how Schaefer arrived at each of her numbers are presented. A more child-friendly explanation of averages and how to calculate them follows. Readers are invited to use this newly acquired knowledge to ponder two math word problems given at the end of the book. Is this book about the natural world? Counting? Statistics? Solving math word problems? It’s hard to say. A great deal of information is presented, for a range of ages.

Kudos for not dumbing it down, however. A more cohesive theme would make for a more understandable overall presentation, but readers will get their money’s worth. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0714-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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