More whimsy than fact here—but by that measure, an agreeable-enough romp.



Following Swamp Chomp (2014), Schaefer and Meisel explore animals in motion on the African savanna.

Schaefer begins by sketching the relationship between predators and their prey. “They chase their prey across the plains, sometimes catching their next meal, sometimes not. It’s a real-life game of hide-and-seek.” After a nighttime scene of sleeping prey animals eyed by a lioness, the action shifts to day, as “leopards spring, / and impalas bound. // Eagles swoop, / and hares hop. // Crocodiles lunge, / and hippos trot.” At times, the staccato couplets stray from their predator-prey focus: “Snakes slither, / and elephants lumber.” The narrative shifts again, to the animals’ collective movement: “Across the savanna, / they scamper and skitter, / past termites / and aardvarks, / near watering holes / and rhinos.” The text oversimplifies the savanna’s complex food chain, making no attempt to further distinguish the depicted animals as omnivores, herbivores, scavengers, or decomposers. Meisel’s mixed-media pictures clearly capture distinguishing features of the animals amid grasslands dotted with acacia trees. However, there’s visual elision, too, as several spreads—including a climactic encounter with lions and a final slumber scene—depict the animals as a cohesive group, with just one or two individuals per species. A few facts, and a list of the 24 mentioned animals with their average sprint speeds, are appended without references.

More whimsy than fact here—but by that measure, an agreeable-enough romp. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3555-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the pirate ship...pick the playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.


This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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