An appealing invitation to elementary-age readers to marvel at animals who share their world.

ANIMAL JOURNEYS

A pint-sized compendium of facts about remarkable animal travels.

Sized just right for small hands and illustrated engagingly, this collection of informational tidbits is broadly organized into four sections: astonishing migrations; travels in, on, and near the water; animals whose journeys take place under extreme conditions; and interesting “animal antics.” The animals described come from around the world, beginning with the Arctic tern, a “super-commuter” (though the accompanying map of its travels is inaccurate), and going on to include whales and salmon, sea turtles and hippos, and three inhabitants of the Sahara desert whose specialized adaptations contribute to their survival, among the many others. At first, the author describes one animal per spread; later, several animals may be combined under a single topic, such as flying squirrels, flying snakes, flying fish, and Wallace’s flying frog—none of which actually fly. Not all the information is really about journeys: there are descriptions of honeybee dances, bat echolocation, two methods of camouflage, and two surprising defenses. The table of contents lists topics rather than animals, and there is no index. Courtney-Tickle’s illustrations vary from full double-page spreads to egg-shaped vignettes. They appear to be digitally created (with lots of spatter background) and show the animals in their probable environments. Page backgrounds blend nicely with the animal images, and vignettes are separately captioned.

An appealing invitation to elementary-age readers to marvel at animals who share their world. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944530-04-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: 360 Degrees

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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