PIPSQUEAKS, SLOWPOKES, AND STINKERS

CELEBRATING ANIMAL UNDERDOGS

Friendly and approachable, this compendium is sure to create some new favorites in the animal kingdom.

A tribute to underappreciated animals of all kinds.

Kids love pandas and elephants, big cats and great white sharks. But how many know about the naked mole rat or the western fence lizard? Dedicated to children experiencing bullying (“what others see as a weakness may actually be your strength”), Stewart’s latest focuses on some of nature’s most underrated creatures. One double-page spread highlights one or two animals that share a particular feature: size, smell, speed, appearance, energy level, etc. The following double-page spread gives an overview of the ways that trait helps them survive in the wild. The book covers animals both familiar, such as koalas and walruses, and more unusual, like hoatzins and the skunklike zorilla. Stewart’s narrative voice is casual and peppy: “Let’s start with this little critter—the Etruscan pygmy shrew. / It’s a real pipsqueak. Look, its name is longer than its body.” Laberis’ digitally rendered illustrations are warm and dynamic, simultaneously silly and realistic—a perfect match for the text and topic. Relatively minimal information about each animal is provided, but it’s enough to spark interest for further exploration. Backmatter includes “More About the Underdogs” and a list of selected sources.

Friendly and approachable, this compendium is sure to create some new favorites in the animal kingdom. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56145-936-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

BUTT OR FACE?

A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

ECLIPSE

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse brings a father and son closer together.

After learning in school about the eclipse’s impending arrival, a curious young boy excitedly figures out the best time and place to see it. His father agrees to transport him to the woods to view the eclipse, and the child describes everything that happens at various points—two months before the eclipse, then a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute, and the exciting second before the sun slips behind the moon. Time seems to stand still, and the creatures in the woods are baffled by what appears to be an early nightfall. Then the countdown begins again, with the boy describing what happens after the eclipse—one second, one minute, one hour, one day, one year, and even longer. The moment has become a shared memory that enhances the bond between father and son and inspires future eclipse-chasing expeditions. Based on the author’s actual experience with his own son in 2017, this picture book features lively, child-friendly digital artwork filled with scenes of nature, matter-of-fact text that acknowledges the awesomeness of this rare phenomenon, and useful maps that chart the solar eclipse of 2017 and projected paths for future eclipses. Father and son are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sure to have readers booking their own trips to catch the next brief but memorable solar eclipse. (more information on eclipses) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781338608823

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

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