An excellent addition to classroom, library, or personal nature collections.

THE HUNGRIEST MOUTH IN THE SEA

Who knew the food chain would make for such a jaunty rhyme?

“Far from the north, an island can be found. / Earth’s salty seas flow all around. / But who has the hungriest mouth / in the seas of the south?” There’s a great mass of plankton floating; something is coming to eat it…it could be a sea horse or a moon jelly. “No, no, no, it’s nothing like that. / It’s someone else in this habitat.” It’s pink Antarctic krill…but there’s a hungrier mouth heading toward the krill. It could be a petrel swooping down into the sea or a squid; nope, this time it’s a blue cod. Through each link in the food chain, two possibilities are offered before the answer is revealed. The animals get bigger and bigger until it’s an orca dining on a brown fur seal. British artist and teacher Walters’ debut is a fun-to-read rhyme that does an excellent job tracing one food chain from microscopic plankton to apex predator. The realistic animals in his cut-paper collages will remind adults of Steve Jenkins’ work, and young biologists will enjoy trying to identify each slightly larger mouth from just the lips (or beak) tantalizingly placed at the edge of every other recto. Backmatter completes the package, with further information, a matching activity, and a card game.

An excellent addition to classroom, library, or personal nature collections. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62855-631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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Hee haw.

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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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