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IN THE DARK OF THE NIGHT

In a picture-book departure from his usual fantasy novels, Stewart (The Edge Chronicles, etc.) has crafted an uninspiring coming-of-age tale about a wolf cub. When Cub-of-Mine cannot sleep, Papa Wolf knows it is time to introduce him to the ways of the adult wolves—the way of the night. Through the dark forest they travel, the Papa Wolf constantly reassuring his youngster in the face of his nighttime fears, the cub wondering if he really is big enough. Reaching Singing Rock just in time for moonrise, Papa Wolf encourages Cub-of-Mine to look into his heart and sing the song he finds there—the song that is in every wolf. And when they return to the den, Cub-of-Mine knows that he is big enough. Vyner’s watercolors fill the pages with mottled, muted color, reflecting the dark setting. His paintings vary in the degree of detail, unable to overcome the limitations of their nighttime palette. The slow pace, inconsistent illustrations and obscure concepts combine to make this one to miss. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-84507-764-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2009

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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