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 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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


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 serviceable introduction to a hot topic.



From the Exploring Our Community series

Ritchie’s five friends are back and learning about urban beekeeping in this newest outing in the Exploring Our Community series.

Their guide is Mr. Cardinal, who keeps two hives in his pesticide-free, dandelion-dotted backyard garden. The kids help him pick out new, native flowers at the nursery to add to his garden before visiting a local pollinator garden. They look sadly at a new building going up in a formerly vacant lot before returning to Mr. Cardinal’s to harvest honey and put it into jars. Nick is stung and calmly sits while Mr. Cardinal extracts the stinger and treats the sting. Throughout, bee facts are imparted in the running narrative, in supplemental expository text on each topical spread and in dialogue balloons (“Bees like purple, blue and yellow flowers,” says Pedro; “They can’t see the color red!” adds Yulee). Tips on helping bees and a glossary close the tale. While there is some oversimplification (the extraction of honey for market is far quicker and less messy than in real life), most of the information presented is solid, with the unfortunate exception of the illustration of a feral beehive as a gray, papery blob rather than separate panes of waxy, bee-covered comb. The kids are diverse; Mr. Cardinal has tan skin and black hair.

A serviceable introduction to a hot topic. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0034-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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