The series continues to engage and inform, though readers may wonder if Berkes knows any other tunes: This is one...

OVER ON A DESERT

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD

Berkes’ habitat series continues with this “Over in the Meadow” song about desert animals.

Using her proven formula, Berkes introduces readers to 10 desert animals (nine mothers and one father), what the babies are called, and one activity that the species engages in. “Over on a desert / Where the barrel cactus grew / Lived a mother gila monster / And her little hatchlings two. / ‘Flick,’ said the mother. / ‘We flick,’ said the two. / So they flicked with their tongues / Where the barrel cactus grew.” Clean page designs place the text on a vertical half-page along with a map with the desert highlighted and labeled (nine are featured: two in Asia, four in North America, two in Africa, and one each in Australia and South America) and the prominent numeral. The rest of the double-page spread displays the family group. The textured papers in Dubin’s collages give life to the animals and their surroundings. Other species include camels, meerkats, dingoes, armadillos, javelinas, desert tortoises, jerboas, roadrunners, and fennec foxes. Backmatter includes a “Fact or Fiction” section, details about both the featured animals and a hidden animal found in each scene, and suggestions for movements/activities to go with the song.

The series continues to engage and inform, though readers may wonder if Berkes knows any other tunes: This is one long-lasting ear worm. (author’s, illustrator’s, book designer’s notes; sheet music; bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58469-630-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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