A fine addition to “sense of wonder” collections.

TINY BIRD

A HUMMINGBIRD'S AMAZING JOURNEY

A ruby-throated hummingbird flies 1,500 miles, from the northeastern United States across the Gulf of Mexico.

Naming his exemplar protagonist Tiny Bird, Burleigh chronicles its pre-migration feeding, its travels southward to the Florida shore, its perilous journey across the Caribbean (a convenient fishing boat provides a resting spot), and its arrival in its tropical winter home. The simple narrative is set in short, poetic lines. There’s suspense: “Over the first pounding waves, / it begins its nonstop flight of more than twenty hours. / Can Tiny Bird make it? Many hummingbirds never do.” The traveler just misses being eaten, first by a hawk and then by a large fish, and weathers a storm. And there’s expressive language, with alliteration, occasional rhyme, and plentiful imagery. After the successful trip, “Tiny Bird rests and feeds, / flickering from flower to flower / like an emerald spark flashing in the bright sun.” While the writer ascribes no gender to his character, Minor’s colorful paintings show a male. In images that feature huge flowers or the vastness of the ocean, the bird is appropriately small, but he’s magnified, reflecting his enormous courage, as he flies through the storm. Information about hummingbird size, flight, and feeding habits is sprinkled throughout the narrative and further developed in a final page of “fun facts”; there’s a map and additional facts on the endpapers.

A fine addition to “sense of wonder” collections. (tips to help hummingbirds, resources) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62779-369-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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