An additional resource only.

ON THE MOVE

MASS MIGRATIONS

Animal migrations offer an opportunity to see hundreds or thousands of the same species gathered in one place.

Spread by spread, in short paragraphs of straightforward exposition set on illustrations showing the animals in their habitats, Cohn describes when, where and why a sampling of North American mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, amphibians and even invertebrates come together and move. Some migrations are familiar—monarch butterflies and sandhill cranes—and others may be surprising in this context, like the nightly movement of bats from a cave or the gathering of snakes in their winter dens. Species linked on the food chain may be described together: the horseshoe crabs and red knots who feed on their eggs; salmon and bald eagles. The author makes an effort to enliven these descriptions with interesting verbs. Salamanders “squiggle across fields.” Chimney swifts “chitter and chatter.” But sometimes word choice trumps facts. Because horseshoe crabs aren’t really crabs, they don’t “scuttle out of the bay.” They crawl, very slowly. Combined with the extra facts in the backmatter curiously labeled as “For Creative Minds,” these informational bits may help young learners broaden their understanding of animal migration, but they won’t deepen it. For that, teachers will want to turn to titles about specific species or the Seymour Simon and Elsa Warnick series that includes They Swim the Seas (1998).

An additional resource only. (Nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60718-616-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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