Next book



A good introduction to starling murmurations, though readers will need to fill in the gaps.

Discover the magic of a murmuration of starlings.

Just two starlings open the book one morning. They are chilly and restless, taking off and joining other starlings. Flying for days, the flock continues to grow as Martin’s illustrations get more and more crowded: hundreds, thousands, millions. They have become a murmuration of starlings, seeking warmth and safety in their huge numbers. Each bird in the flock has allies—those birds flying closest to them—and by paying attention to only their allies, the birds can fly in complex patterns and avoid predators without flying into each other. As sunset nears, the starlings twist and dance in the sky, making ribbons and snakes. And then, all at once, they land to feed and roost. The backmatter offers more info about starlings, but it’s incomplete, lacking a map or any description of habitat. Martin tinges his watercolor, pencil, and digital collage illustrations with the oranges, pinks, yellows, and reds of the setting sun, but this makes the timeline confusing since the birds take off in the morning, fly for days, and roost at sunset. He does, however, provide a marvelous sense of scale, placing tiny humans under the flock and showing an enormous ribbon of birds above what in real life are huge windmills. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A good introduction to starling murmurations, though readers will need to fill in the gaps. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-38163-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

Next book


From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Next book


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

Close Quickview