A useful introduction to citizen science.

READ REVIEW

MOONLIGHT CRAB COUNT

On a late spring night under a full moon, Leena, her mother, and her dog count horseshoe crabs on an island beach.

Simply written in short paragraphs, this slim text is long on information if short on excitement. Horseshoe crabs (not true crabs but related to spiders) swarm up beaches along the Atlantic coast to lay eggs in the sand in spring. Millions of migrating shorebirds, including endangered red knots, time their visits to these beaches to feast on the eggs. Humans use the blood of horseshoe crabs to test medicine. The state of the species is important, and citizen scientists like Leena and her mother are deployed to estimate the crab population by counting individuals in a designated area. The authors recount Leena’s experience: a short boat trip, recording time and temperature, looking carefully at an individual crab, getting her dog to wait patiently, and counting while her mother tallies. Jones’ digital paintings resemble animated films; she makes particular use of the spotlight effects of the moonlight. Black-haired Leena and her mother might be of South Asian heritage like the scientist co-author. Four pages of backmatter add helpful information. This story leaves readers with less of a sense of the wonder of this remarkable spring event than Lisa Kahn Schnell and Alan Marks’ High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs (2015) but is more personal. Bat Count, by Anna Forrester and illustrated by Susan Detweiler, publishes simultaneously and features a black family engaging in similar citizen science on their farm.

A useful introduction to citizen science. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62855-9309

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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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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