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A charming beginning look at North American migration flyways.

Nelson gives readers a peek at the routes that birds follow as they migrate each year.

In spring, birds of all kinds make their nests and lay eggs. The author makes clear the diversity of birds and their habits and habitats, describing birds that nest in trees or by the water, amid reeds or in tree cavities, and the babies are varied, too: “Bald ones, fuzzy ones, / plump and round / and long and leggy ones.” Each learns their own individual call, some learn to run or swim or dive, and eventually, “every baby learns to fly!” In autumn, the birds fly south, remaining “until they feel the pull of / springtime.” This book is focused on the Mississippi Flyway, though the facts in general hold for the Atlantic, Central, and Pacific as well. But the book does not specify that not all birds migrate, nor do all of them head for the ocean, though the focus and all the named species are ducks and waterfowl: geese, herons, egrets, loons, etc. Hanisch’s illustrations, a combination of pencils, water-based paint, and digital techniques, are delightful, giving readers lifelike depictions of the birds with dabs of colors and lines. The birds’ eyes can sometimes be too large for their heads, though, giving them a bug-eyed appearance. Backmatter provides more facts about flyways and each of the 12 species featured. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A charming beginning look at North American migration flyways. (sources, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2023

ISBN: 9781646866335

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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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 Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be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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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

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