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

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 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018



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


From the Amazing Animals series

An arguable error of omission and definite errors of commission sink this otherwise attractive effort.

A look at the unique ways that 11 globe-spanning animal species construct their homes.

Each creature garners two double-page spreads, which Cherrix enlivens with compelling and at-times jaw-dropping facts. The trapdoor spider constructs a hidden burrow door from spider silk. Sticky threads, fanning from the entrance, vibrate “like a silent doorbell” when walked upon by unwitting insect prey. Prairie dogs expertly dig communal burrows with designated chambers for “sleeping, eating, and pooping.” The largest recorded “town” occupied “25,000 miles and housed as many as 400 million prairie dogs!” Female ants are “industrious insects” who can remove more than a ton of dirt from their colony in a year. Cathedral termites use dirt and saliva to construct solar-cooled towers 30 feet high. Sasaki’s lively pictures borrow stylistically from the animal compendiums of mid-20th-century children’s lit; endpapers and display type elegantly suggest the blues of cyanotypes and architectural blueprints. Jarringly, the lead spread cheerfully extols the prowess of the corals of the Great Barrier Reef, “the world’s largest living structure,” while ignoring its accelerating, human-abetted destruction. Calamitously, the honeybee hive is incorrectly depicted as a paper-wasps’ nest, and the text falsely states that chewed beeswax “hardens into glue to shape the hive.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An arguable error of omission and definite errors of commission sink this otherwise attractive effort. (selected sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5625-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Close Quickview