Skip the rudimentary introduction to the environment and purchase this solely for the artwork and extended learning.

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NATURE'S PATCHWORK QUILT

UNDERSTANDING HABITATS

More a collection of loosely related definitions than an elucidation of habitats as the subtitle implies, this is nonetheless beautifully illustrated.

Stunning watercolor quilts of different patterns dominate Powell’s double-page compositions. A large center scene is surrounded by tiny blocks that each house lifelike depictions of the plants and animals that make up a habitat: forest, desert, ocean, rainforest, etc. A list of the flora and fauna on each page can be found on the publisher's website (not seen). Unfortunately, Miché’s text does not match the level of the artwork. Beginning with a simile comparing nature to a patchwork quilt of different habitats, the author presents some of those habitats while introducing environmental vocabulary: interdependence, niche, food chain, adaptations, biodiversity, deforestation and domestication, among others. But the quilt metaphor quickly breaks down, becoming just a way to arrange the illustrations. Boldface words are sparsely explained within the text, and nothing is given in-depth coverage; readers and teachers may wish for a glossary with more detailed definitions. As is characteristic of the publisher, extensive backmatter includes activities and resources for further information and learning extensions, though they are aimed primarily at the adults who are sharing this title with children. One spread sure to spur further investigation presents the portraits of 22 environmentalists with tantalizing clues as to their areas of involvement.

Skip the rudimentary introduction to the environment and purchase this solely for the artwork and extended learning. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58469-169-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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