Despite this miscalculation, an otherwise valuable addition to any classroom library.

READ REVIEW

HANDLE WITH CARE

AN UNUSUAL BUTTERFLY JOURNEY

Beautiful butterflies on view in museums and gardens across North America begin life on farms in Costa Rica.

In words and pictures, an experienced author-illustrator team explains the stages of butterfly metamorphosis that allow these popular insects to be raised at El Bosque Nuevo in the Costa Rican forest for the butterfly garden in the Museum of Science in Boston. This large, square album perfectly complements primary-grade butterfly studies. Crisply reproduced photographs show butterflies in all their stages, the greenhouse and other farm buildings where they are bred and grown, farm workers tending the caterpillars and collecting and packing the pupae, and finally, a child in Boston watching an adult butterfly emerge. A relatively simple text explains the insect’s life cycle and the production process. Some science vocabulary—exoskeleton, pupa, molt—is defined in context. Only in the two-page backmatter (still aimed at the child reader) does the author use the word metamorphosis. There, she also connects the changes in butterflies to the stages of other insects. There’s a map early in the narrative as well as a concluding glossary and appropriate suggestions for further reading and research. Sadly, the intriguing photographs of pupae on the front endpapers and adults on the back aren’t labeled.

Despite this miscalculation, an otherwise valuable addition to any classroom library. (bibliography, index) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-9342-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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