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 bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A soaring read-aloud that makes the rare national bird of the Philippines accessible to young environmentalists.

AN EAGLE'S FEATHER

A pair of critically endangered Philippine eagles in captivity aspire to life in the wild despite growing developments surrounding them.

“Flying high above the forest of Tambala at sunrise, Kalayaan spots a monkey. Food! / The young Philippine eagle swoops down to follow the monkey. Where did it go?” In concise and evenly paced text, Kalayaan is pursuing his prey when “BOOM!”: He is shot by a hunter. Luckily he is rescued by a father and son before “everything turns dark.” Upon awakening he meets Pinpin, a female eagle bred in captivity. Pinpin informs him that he is in rehabilitation and is optimistic that both can be released in the wild. Alvarez, a Philippine-based artist, illuminates the eagles’ dreams of the forest with bleeding layers of pastel-hued watercolors embellished with highlighting patterns. While they wait for Kalayaan to recover, both birds discuss how “the forest has been cut down for timber, so that eagles have less and less space to hunt for food.” Ho successfully addresses the complex issues with clarity without detracting from the heart of the story. Both eagles eventually find a hope-filled conclusion. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

A soaring read-aloud that makes the rare national bird of the Philippines accessible to young environmentalists. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943645-23-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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