While Cooke’s intentions are commendable, the main message she unintentionally conveys is that too much cuteness can be...

READ REVIEW

A LITTLE BOOK OF SLOTH

Children might enjoy the myriad pictures of cute critters in this photo essay set at the Aviarios del Caribe sloth sanctuary, but it’s not likely they’ll sit still long enough to listen to the text.

Zoologist and videographer Cooke has already successfully expressed her support for sloths in several media. An online video she created was well-received and has spawned a film documentary, which will be expanded into an eight-part series next year. Unfortunately, what works well online—or even on the (big or small) screen—isn’t as successful on the page. The photos are crisp and clear, but they feature too many repetitive images. After the first few pages, it’s hard to tell one cute sloth clutching a tree, cuddling or snoozing, from another, despite the fact that Cooke informs readers that sloths belong to two different families (the Bradypus family and the Choloepus), distinguished by the number of claws they have and differences in color and size. The episodic text, overly precious descriptions and self-consciously humorous, adultcentric tone do nothing to strengthen the child appeal. Occasional Briticisms (“pop down to the shops”) and pop-culture references (“Baby sloths are Jedi masters of the hug”—irritatingly, Wookiee is misspelled) run the risk of further distancing young (American) listeners.

While Cooke’s intentions are commendable, the main message she unintentionally conveys is that too much cuteness can be cloying—and counterproductive. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4557-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more