A treasure for readers of any age who delight in the natural world.

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SONG OF THE WILD

A FIRST BOOK OF ANIMALS

Paintings, poetry, and lyrical prose celebrate animals of all sorts.

From blue whales to blue morpho butterflies, camels to coral, sea turtles to snails, Davies finds something young readers will find appealing and memorable about all kinds of animals. This striking, oversized album, first published in England, groups over 50 poems and snatches of carefully crafted prose into sections corresponding to topics: sizes; colors and shapes; homes; babies; and animals in action. The pleasing poetry makes liberal use of imagery, alliteration, and slant rhymes. The writer imagines monarch butterflies at their winter home: “clothing, covering, the trees / in a thick coat of living flame / that shimmers as a shiver passes / from wing to wing to wing.” This lyrical language is matched by sumptuous illustrations beautifully reproduced on glossy, oversized pages. Most poems are set on one side of double-page spreads, allowing the paintings ample, deserved room. Each animal is portrayed against a background that suggests something about its usual habitat. Horácek uses a variety of materials including wax crayon, acrylic and watercolor paints, and cutouts. The vibrant color and texture may remind some of the work of Brian Wildsmith. Each section ends with a spread of fast facts: characteristics of different animal groups; spots and stripes; parasites; eggs; and animals using tools.

A treasure for readers of any age who delight in the natural world. (Informational picture book/ poetry. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9160-8

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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