A lyrical introduction to STEM for budding scientists, animal lovers, and artists everywhere

READ REVIEW

THE SQUIRRELS' BUSY YEAR

A FIRST SCIENCE STORYBOOK

Muted, mixed-media illustrations pair nicely with spare, poetic text that depicts the seasons in a forest.

An owl sits in a hole in a tree, “keeping an eye on things” as each new season begins and ends. Squirrels first seen curled up in a tree soon seek food as snowflakes drift down; birds and frogs liven up the pond in spring but quiet down in summer heat; the squirrels scurry about once again in fall as the frogs burrow their way into the mud below the pond. This book doesn’t shy away from presenting natural dangers—when the owl goes hunting, squirrels must beware. And summer lightning hits the owl’s tree—will it escape in time? Winter comes again, and so does a new perspective: Readers peek out through a hole in the tree from deep inside the squirrels’ den to see the owl flying past. This first introduction to the science of seasons and animal behavior features painterly, detailed illustrations that enchant and instruct, illuminating and extending the lively, approachable, often onomatopoeic text. Frontmatter explains why we have seasons and certain weather patterns such as thunderstorms; complementary backmatter offers both topical discussion questions and a subject index, which further lend this book to STEM-related storytimes and activities.

A lyrical introduction to STEM for budding scientists, animal lovers, and artists everywhere . (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9600-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse.

BIGGER WORDS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

More labial lollipops for logomanes and sesquipedalian proto-savants.

The creators of Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017) and Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses (2018) follow up with another ABC of extravagant expressions. It begins with “ailurophile” (“How furry sweet!” Puns, yet), ends with “zoanthropy,” and in between highlights “bioluminescent,” growls at a grouchy “gnashnab,” and collects a “knickknackatory” of like locutions. A list of 14 additional words is appended in a second, partial alphabet. Each entry comes with a phonetic version, a one- or two-sentence verbal definition, and, from Pan, a visual one with a big letter and very simple, broadly brushed figures. Lending an ear to aural pleasures, the authors borrow from German to include “fünfundfünfzig” in the main list and add a separate list of a dozen more words at the end likewise deemed sheer fun to say. Will any of these rare, generally polysyllabic leviathans find their way into idiolects or casual conversations? Unlikely, alas—but sounding them out and realizing that even the silliest have at least putative meanings sheds liminal light on language’s glittering word hoards.

Only gnashnabs would cavil at this eximious display of lexicographical largesse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-53445-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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