This introduction to dolphins is sure to win readers’ hearts.

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DOLPHIN BABY!

Born tail first, a baby dolphin swims immediately to the surface to breathe, then follows his mother, nursing, learning her call, gradually exploring his world, playing, learning and developing his own personal whistle.

Zoologist Davies has long experience writing about nature for young readers. Here, she describes the first six months of a bottlenose calf’s life through the story of Dolphin and Mom. A sentence or two of narrative description appears on each page, with additional facts in a smaller, italic text. She chooses appropriate information—appearance, breathing, diving, feeding and communication—and constructs her story to demonstrate the calf’s increasing independence. Her facts are accurate, and readers looking for specifics will appreciate the index and page numbers. An afterword identifies the particular species and reminds readers that caring for oceans will help ensure dolphin survival. Granström’s acrylic paintings are beautiful. Spreading across two pages, they emphasize the blues of the dolphin’s environment. The pink of their rostrums is occasionally and gloriously echoed in the sky. Although the author mentions that the calves lose their “folds and creases” in a few weeks, the illustrator hasn’t shown a newborn calf’s characteristic stripes, but she has certainly captured its appeal.

This introduction to dolphins is sure to win readers’ hearts. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5548-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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