Attractive, colorful, and age-appropriate, though not without flaw.



A brown-skinned young girl acts as “bug guide,” inviting readers to search for some bugs with her in this attractive offering by Yoon.

The book showcases a total of eight common insects, from ladybug and butterfly to bumblebee and ant, one on each page in close-up detail, with a green, leafy background. Each insect is printed on a large flap that’s sturdy and easy for a toddler to lift up, and underneath is a colorful illustration of the insect in its natural environment and a rhyming couplet (sometimes clunky but always age-appropriate) giving brief basic facts about it. “Lightning bugs come out at night / and flash their little glowing light”; “Grasshoppers can jump so high! / They also use their wings to fly.” The book supports a common misconception by including the spider, an arachnid, with the rest of the insects, encouraging another generation to believe that spiders are insects: “Spiders creep and sneak and crawl. / They weave their webs, both big and small.” Bright, colorful illustrations show the insects in natural colors and all at the same size, not drawn to scale. Companion book Dinosaur Discovery works on the same format with a young white-skinned girl as “field guide” and features eight common dinosaurs, including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Argentinosaurus, again not to scale. Some of the facts may be unverifiable, such as assertions about coloration and vocalization.

Attractive, colorful, and age-appropriate, though not without flaw. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2108-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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


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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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity


When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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