Another winner for young animal lovers.



Rotner adds to her striking collection of children’s books featuring her photography with this beginning look at animals’ life cycles.

Mindful of the youngest children, the author keeps things simple by placing each animal on a single spread, one phrase describing the life stages (with appropriate vocabulary: hatchling, lamb, piglet) as they unfold in the three to six photographs that span the pages, and what photos they are! “Egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly” includes six photos, one each of the first three, and then three showing the monarch butterfly inside the now-clear chrysalis, unfolding its wings, and perched on a pink flower. The gangly foal progresses from wobbly infancy to a sturdy colt to a full-grown stallion, its tail and mane grown in and its coat glossy. Of the 14 animals presented, seven begin as eggs (frog, bird, chicken, turtle, snake, lizard), six are common on farms or as pets (rabbit, pig, sheep, horse, cat, dog), and the last is, appropriately, a human. While the robin hatchling is shown in its rather ugly, featherless stage, the chick is not, and of the kit, kitten, and puppy, only the final is shown as a newborn with eyes still shut tight. The backmatter includes three life-cycle diagrams (butterfly, bird, frog), a brief glossary, and a list of “breeds” shown in the photos (several are members of individual species rather than breeds, a distinction that is not clarified by the short, accompanying definition). The few humans pictured are diverse in gender and racial presentation.

Another winner for young animal lovers. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4828-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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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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Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed.


From the Baby University series

This book presents a simplified explanation of the role the atmosphere plays in controlling climate.

The authors present a planet as a ball and its atmosphere as a blanket that envelops the ball. If the blanket is thick, the planet will be hot, as is the case for Venus. If the blanket is thin, the planet is cold, as with Mars. Planet Earth has a blanket that traps “just the right amount of heat.” The authors explain trees, animals, and oceans are part of what makes Earth’s atmosphere “just right.” “But…Uh-oh! People on Earth are changing the blanket!” The book goes on to explain how some human activities are sending “greenhouse gases” into the atmosphere, thus “making the blanket heavier and thicker” and “making Earth feel unwell.” In the case of a planet feeling unwell, what would the symptoms be? Sea-level rises that lead to erosion, flooding, and island loss, along with extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, blizzards, and wildfires. Ending on a constructive note, the authors name a few of the remedies to “help our Earth before it’s too late!” By using the blanket analogy, alongside simple and clear illustrations, this otherwise complex topic becomes very accessible to young children, though caregivers will need to help with the specialized vocabulary.

Adults looking for an easy entry into this subject will not be disappointed. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8082-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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