This modest, agreeable entry in the My First Look At series shows the life cycle of a mallard duck nesting in an urban park. The text is cumulative, so the line on the first page, “This is the park where Paul plays,” is echoed on the second, “These are the ducks that swim in the park where Paul plays.” In the spring the ducks arrive; they grow all summer long, and fly away in the autumn. Listeners will enjoy the spare, rhythmic telling, while the softly colored drawings of Paul, a shaggy-haired preschooler, are appealing. Additional information, obviously aimed at older readers or for adults to share with children, appears under the flap on each page. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-55074-613-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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The gastronomical oddity of eating winged and many-legged creatures is fleetingly examined in a superficial text that looks at animals and people who eat insects. Bugs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are gobbled up by a shrew, an aardvark, a bear, a gecko, and others. The rhyme scheme limits the information presented; specificity about the types of insects eaten is sacrificed for the sake of making the rhyme flow, e.g., a mouse, a trout, a praying mantis, a nuthatch, and a bat are repeatedly said to eat “bugs” or “insects” in general, rather than naming the mayflies, moths, or grubs they enjoy. An author’s note explains her choice of the word bugs for all crawly things; an addendum takes care of other particulars lacking in the text. Long’s exacting pen-and-ink style lends a naturalistic perfection to this visual playground of the insect world, enhancing this glimpse of vital link in the food chain. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-88106-271-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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PLB 0-688-16259-2 Time is relative, as Griffith’s pleasingly droll story makes clear, especially when a cat, a dog, a turtle, and a couple gnats get together to compare longevity. The dog, Alex, has made a cake for his friend, Robbie, a boy turning ten who never appears in these pages. A cat notes that Robbie’s years equal about 70 of hers, while a turtle figures that the same number equals about 8 of his years, because he can live to be 100. Two gnats buzz in to check on the doings, and they can’t even begin to comprehend the very notion of ten years—“ ‘Well, they’re gnats,’ said the cat. ‘Ten years to a boy is one billion years to a gnat.’ “ As Alex tries to determine how many candles are needed for each new configuration, the cat sniffs the cake: “This seems to be made of dog biscuits,” and the higher mathematics are put on the back burner while some sheer tomfoolery comes to the fore. This is a delightful exploration of dry humor and number-juggling, accompanied by some elegantly funny artwork. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16258-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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