A nonfiction introduction to black bear yearlings for the youngest children.



An introduction to black bear yearlings from nature photographer/author Holland.

Readers meet Yodel and his family (the cubs cannot be differentiated in the photos) as they “are just waking up from a long winter’s nap.” The cubs will have another six months to learn survival skills from their mother before they will have to “say goodbye” to her. (Holland anthropomorphizes the bears’ feelings and actions throughout.) Yodel’s days are filled with napping, grooming, chewing sticks, playing with his siblings, nursing, and looking for food. When their mother leaves them to find food, the cubs climb the “babysitter tree” until her return. The few short sentences with easy vocabulary on each page make this ideal for young children and new readers. Holland’s photos include some great shots of the babysitter tree, the family group, and the brothers wrestling. Several, though, are more difficult to make out; the bears’ black fur makes them blend into one another and into background tree bark. Backmatter explains the difference between torpor and hibernation and includes two activities: one identifying what black bears eat from among 11 photos and the other matching descriptions of evidence of black bears to photos. Answers are right-side-up at the bottoms of the pages. The lengthy sentences and tougher vocabulary (which includes more scientific words, though, sadly, the verbs “pee” and “poop” are not augmented by less-juvenile terms, as the noun “poop” is by “scat” in a different section) in the backmatter are aimed at more-able readers than the rest of the text. A Spanish-language edition, Yodel, el chiquitín, publishes simultaneously.

A nonfiction introduction to black bear yearlings for the youngest children. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-448-5

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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For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp.


From the Llama Book series

Llamas, alpacas, and clones—oh my!

In this sequel to Llama Destroys the World (2019), hapless Llama once again wreaks unintentional, large-scale havoc—but this time, he (sort of) saves the day, too. After making an epic breakfast (and epic mess), Llama decides to build a machine that will enable him to avoid cleaning up. No, not a vacuum or dishwasher: It’s a machine that Llama uses to clone his friend “of impeccable tidiness,” Alpaca, in order to create an “army of cleaners.” Cream-colored Llama and light-brown Alpaca, both male, are pear shaped with short, stubby legs, bland expressions, and bulging eyes. Paired with the cartoon illustrations, the text’s comic timing shines: “Llama invited Alpaca over for lunch. / Llama invited Alpaca into the Replicator 3000. / And then, Llama invited disaster.” Soon the house is full of smiling Alpacas in purple scalloped aprons, single-mindedly cleaning—and, as one might expect, things don’t go as planned. Mealtimes (i.e. “second lunch” and dinner) offer opportunities for the “alpacalypse” to emerge from Llama’s house into the wider world. Everyday life grinds to a halt as the myriad Alpacas bearing mops, dusters, and plungers continue their cleaning crusade with no signs of stopping. That is, until the Alpacas realize they are hungry….It’s all very funny, but the sight of the paler-coated Llama exploiting the darker-coated Alpaca, for whom nothing brings “more joy than cleaning,” is an uncomfortable one.

For many readers, uneasy optics will take the fun out of this romp. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22285-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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