A solid addition to the series and a great compare/contrast exercise for classrooms.

READ REVIEW

ANIMAL SKINS

Following Animal Noses (2018), Holland’s latest looks at the various coverings for animals’ skin.

Hair, feathers, and scales may look different one to the other, but they serve largely the same purposes: camouflage, protection from predators and the weather, warnings to keep away, and aids to attracting a mate. Spots on a moth’s wings that look like eyes fool predators. A skunk’s black-and-white pattern acts as a warning. Fawns’ white spots help camouflage them, and a bird’s feathers trap air, helping the animal stay warm. Holland also looks at insects; their exoskeletons cannot grow. Instead, they grow a new skin under the old one and then shed the one that’s too small. Snakes do the same. (Holland missteps a bit with her statement that “If you look closely at a shed snake skin you can see the scales.” Those are not the actual scales but are made of something similar—keratin, which is in our nails and hair.) As in the whole Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series, the close-ups of the creatures are the big draw. Highlights are the frog peeking out of the water and the close-up of a fluffed-up bluejay amid falling snow. Backmatter includes some matching activities and more information.

A solid addition to the series and a great compare/contrast exercise for classrooms. (Nonfiction. 3-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64351-339-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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