Young readers will love Ninita and learn to care about saving her habitat.



Ninita may be a deaf pygmy marmoset, but she makes the most of life in her big world.

Ninita’s big world is not the Amazon rainforest, the native habitat of pygmy marmosets, the smallest monkeys in the world, but the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Loxahatchee, Florida. Ninita was born deaf. She took in the sights and warmth of her habitat, but she could not “hear the hum of mosquitoes and dragonflies [or] her parents’ voices.” Her parents abandoned Ninita when she was just 3 weeks old. In Coleman’s illustrations Ninita is adorable, with sad or happy eyes and cheerful expressions of wonderment as she finds a world of cuddly toys, warm blankets, ropes to climb on, and yogurt, rice pudding, and “fluffy whipped cream” to eat—this last licked from the tip of an enormous human finger that effectively demonstrates scale. She especially loves being groomed with a toothbrush. As she grows, she explores tall grass and dark caves (depicted as the hair of a white human caregiver and partially opened book, respectively). These adventures are made better when she’s introduced into a new habitat and meets a new marmoset friend named Mr. Big to share them with. A lively if highly anthropomorphizing text and endearing digitally created illustrations combine to demonstrate how even the smallest creatures can “climb as high” and “jump just as fast” as their peers in a world that supports their efforts. The human hands shown could be white or brown.

Young readers will love Ninita and learn to care about saving her habitat. (author’s note, bibliography, fun facts) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-77001-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.


Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.


From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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