A fascinating look at animals’ varied ears.



From the Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series

A look at ears joins Holland’s other books on animal eyes, legs, mouths, and tails.

Animals use their ears for all sorts of things. They listen for predators and prey, use them to communicate with one another, listen for their mates, and locate sounds. Like humans, some creatures have external parts to their ears; others are internal or in unexpected places: a katydid’s are on its legs, and a praying mantis has only one, and it’s under its body between its front legs. Bats use their ears for echolocation; beavers’ ears have special flaps that close when they dive underwater; rabbits and cats can rotate their ears separately to listen to sounds from different directions; and frogs’ eardrums are visible on the sides of their heads. Backmatter provides more information about animal ears as well as a complex (and, sadly, unillustrated) explanation of how ears hear. Unusual for books from this publisher, there is only one actual activity: matching four animal pictures to close-ups of their ears. The gorgeous close-up photography that occupies two-thirds of every double-page spread is the big draw, though readers will still wish that some came with arrows pointing out the ears. Children who are paying attention will immediately ask a question after reading or hearing the first sentence, and adult partners will want to be prepared, especially since the answer is a bit complicated: “Most animals have ears”; which do not is the obvious question. Las orejas de los animales, a Spanish-language companion, publishes simultaneously.

A fascinating look at animals’ varied ears. (Nonfiction. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-447-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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


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.


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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