From the Animal Families series

A nice link between children and their animal counterparts, though it doesn’t stand out on an already crowded shelf.

Asper-Smith introduces children to some of the things animal parents do to care for their young, the phrase “If you were…” helping kids imagine themselves as that animal.

“If you were a Dall sheep, I would teach you to climb the steep cliffs and slopes of the mountain-side.” A few lines in a smaller font introduce a further fact, in this case, that the male’s curled horns keep growing every year. These facts can be read or not, depending on the audience’s age, though several could have used more fleshing out. For instance, one talks about an ermine’s coat changing color for winter but leaves out why. The text appropriately ends with an overhead view of a child and adult sharing a book. While the text here—“Because I love you, I will teach you many ways to live in this world”—would better match a book about lessons applicable to both animal and human offspring, it gets to the point that it’s important to know about other species sharing our world. Watley’s gorgeous, realistic-looking spreads immerse children in each animal’s habitat—the Arctic bumblebee is shown up-close on a flower, and the coyotes are appropriately shown at night—and make clear any obvious differences between the adults and offspring (the spotted seal and bald eagle, for example), though not all are easy to differentiate. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A nice link between children and their animal counterparts, though it doesn’t stand out on an already crowded shelf. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63217-404-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022


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


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

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