SPINNING SPIDERS

A beautifully illustrated, informative entry in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explores the biology of spinning spiders. The text dutifully explains the distinction between insects and arachnids, eschewing scientific terminology in favor of language that will be crystal-clear to a primary-grade audience. The catching, killing, and eating of flies is described with a ghoulish relish appropriate to the audience: “Once the fly’s insides have turned to mush, the spider can slurp it up.” Also included is an overview of the many uses and forms of webs. Schindler’s illustrations are a marvel of clarity and composition, varying perspective and picturing several different kinds of spiders in action. Berger’s text, on the other hand, while informative, is for the most part lackluster. Also, the meticulous illustrations, sadly enough, are not labeled, so unless specific mention of a particular spider is made in the body of the text, the many others depicted will remain anonymous. These and other deficiencies make this offering an additional, rather than a necessary, purchase. Back matter provides a web-preserving activity and offers two Web sites for further consultation. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-028696-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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DUCK FOR PRESIDENT

Just in time for an election year, the feathered troublemaker of Click, Clack, Moo (2000) and Giggle, Giggle, Quack (2002) enters the political arena, with sidesplitting results. Weary of chores, Duck organizes a farmyard election and ousts Farmer Brown—only to discover that running a farm is harder than it looks. So Duck moves on, campaigning first for Governor, than President, and winning each time by, well, a nose. Lewin follows Cronin’s lead in losing no opportunity to lampoon recognizable political figures. Seeing Duck flash a two-fisted “V For Victory” sign, edge out a decidedly Hillary-esque gubernatorial incumbent, play saxophone on late-night TV, and lean wearily on the presidential desk may amuse grownups more than children—but the comedy flows freely on more levels than one, and there’s sufficient hilarity for all. Seeing the error of his ways, Duck finally returns to the farm, and is last seen working not on chores, but, graduating from typewriter to computer, his memoirs. All things considered, he has plenty to write about. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 2, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-86377-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2004

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