Not just chatter, but a welcome and informative conclusion to a successful series of animal introductions.

THE TRUTH ABOUT PARROTS

From the Truth About Your Favorite Animals series

With the help of talkative parrots, Eaton’s nature-loving protagonist learns about a family of wild birds beloved for their abilities to mimic human voices.

In this engaging, appreciative title, a curious child meets a variety of parrots. The human representative here is a brown-skinned kid with curly, dark hair; the parrot species introduced include cockatoos, macaws, lorikeets, and the solitary, flightless kakapo. As per series norm, the narrative consists of simple statements of facts set directly on cartoon spreads. Further facts appear in boxes while humorous commentary comes from parrots themselves in speech bubbles. Often what they say in jest reinforces facts that have been introduced. The kakapo complains about crowds when the protagonist shares information with two friends; and the hyacinth macaws regard habitat destruction and comment, “We should say something.” The humor is broad, sometimes cheerfully exaggerated, but often it introduces even more facts. Grey parrots are shown in lab experiments naming and describing objects—and also asking for a grant application to be typed, which makes an observing gorilla (gorillas have also learned to communicate with humans) remark that “apparently anything goes in this book.” There is clearly instructive purpose behind the zaniness that will make readers see parrots as more than just potential pets. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not just chatter, but a welcome and informative conclusion to a successful series of animal introductions. (further facts, further research) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23255-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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