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From the Tracks and Homes series

Familiar premises make the natural history in this Czech import and its companion all the more digestible.

A snail searches for a proper place to spend the night.

In language a cut or two above the elemental tenor of the plotline, the small searcher—dubbed “our hero” or “our little hero”—first approaches a burrow inhabited by a badger who “doesn’t want to share his abode.” He moves on to a nest full of thrush eggs, an anthill that is plainly too crowded, a cave where bats “scream and listen to their echoes,” and several other unsuitable residences…before finally realizing that he’s been carrying a cozy personal “conch” all along. In the woodsy illustrations, multiple flaps cut into the sturdy, rounded-corner pages on every spread lift to reveal other animals in related sorts of holes, nests, and other natural homes. The co-published Whose Track Is It?features similar flaps that lift to reveal creatures including a goat with “skillful” legs, a toad who “walks very carefully and thoughtfully,” and “ungulates” with even-toed (cow) and odd-toed (horse) hooves. They have all left distinctive footprints for a lost roe deer fawn to follow. Nappie-clad naturalists may not have the easiest time with these, but their slightly older sibs will find the content as rewarding as it is challenging. Saldaña renders the animals and settings with appealing simplicity, and Janská’s leading questions add further incentive to pore over them.

Familiar premises make the natural history in this Czech import and its companion all the more digestible. (Informational novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-80-00-06092-7

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Albatros Media

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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From the What if You Had . . .? series

Another playful imagination-stretcher.

Markle invites children to picture themselves living in the homes of 11 wild animals.

As in previous entries in the series, McWilliam’s illustrations of a diverse cast of young people fancifully imitating wild creatures are paired with close-up photos of each animal in a like natural setting. The left side of one spread includes a photo of a black bear nestling in a cozy winter den, while the right side features an image of a human one cuddled up with a bear. On another spread, opposite a photo of honeybees tending to newly hatched offspring, a human “larva” lounges at ease in a honeycomb cell, game controller in hand, as insect attendants dish up goodies. A child with an eye patch reclines on an orb weaver spider’s web, while another wearing a head scarf constructs a castle in a subterranean chamber with help from mound-building termites. Markle adds simple remarks about each type of den, nest, or burrow and basic facts about its typical residents, then closes with a reassuring reminder to readers that they don’t have to live as animals do, because they will “always live where people live.” A select gallery of traditional homes, from igloo and yurt to mudhif, follows a final view of the young cast waving from a variety of differently styled windows.

Another playful imagination-stretcher. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781339049052

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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