A promising first entry in a new series of picture books introducing iconic mammals to young readers with a sense of humor.

THE TRUTH ABOUT HIPPOS

From the Truth About Your Favorite Animals series

Fast facts about hippopotamuses embedded in cartoons.

Appealing cartoon illustrations of talking animals, a slim story about a lost calf, and an even slimmer joke about hippos riding bikes enliven this basic introduction to the hippopotamus family. Eaton identifies the two main species, common and pygmy hippopotamuses, and then distinguishes between the two. Each page or double-page spread includes a factoid or two describing weight, habitat, favorite foods, and behaviors. Digitally colored pen-and-ink cartoons show talking animals as well as a young white human observer. Speech bubbles and occasional text boxes add humor and further interesting information. Readers and listeners may be particularly amused by hippo bathroom habits: flicking their tails, they splatter their poop, perhaps “to mark trails or show dominance.” But there is solid, serious information here as well. “Hippos have big teeth, but that doesn’t keep them completely safe.” The author gently mentions threats to hippos, such as hunting and habitat destruction, and encourages his audience to “help by learning more about hippos and then teaching others.” In a nice touch, the concluding spread includes a review of hippo facts from the text and suggestions for further research, including lists of books for younger and older readers.

A promising first entry in a new series of picture books introducing iconic mammals to young readers with a sense of humor. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-667-3

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE

From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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