Continuing the story of Animal Dads (1997), artist Steve Jenkins provides more striking paper collages while author Sneed Collard III pens a brief text, which includes some sophisticated biology about asexual and sexual reproduction in animals. Several unusual forms of asexual reproduction are included, for example: budding, splitting, breaking, and stacking. Sexual reproduction begins with a discussion of eggs and sperm, then shows some of the techniques animals use to attract a mate: sporting bright colors, fighting, flashing, and nest-building. The final section describes embryos developing in eggs and in the mother's womb. Usually the author provides a line of text in large type for younger readers, which is expanded in a paragraph in small type appearing elsewhere on the page. Unlike with Animal Dads, where younger children could read the illustrations, emerging readers will have more trouble here. The publishers recommend ages four through eight, but most sections would be more useful for middle-grade students, as the picture-book format will discourage browsing. Paper collages are handsome, though the layout—which poses an animal on every page, each on a different colored background, and none made to scale—is distracting. For example, the bower bird is shown page left, building his next; while page right shows two enormous night-lit fireflies, each as large as the bird. The author concludes with a glossary of science terms. Though interesting, this not as successful as past collaborations. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-395-95317-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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There is an ineffable sweetness in Rylant’s work, which skirts the edge of sentimentality but rarely tumbles, saved by her simple artistry. This companion piece to The Bookshop Dog (1996) relates how the cookie-store cat was found, a tiny, skinny kitten, very early one day as the bakers came in to work. The cat gets morning kisses, when the bakers tell him that he is “sweeter than any cookie” and “prettier than marzipan.” Then he makes his rounds, out the screen door painted with “cherry drops and gingerbread men” to visit the fish-shop owner, the yarn lady, and the bookshop, where Martha Jane makes a cameo appearance. Back at the cookie store, the cat listens to Father Eugene, who eats his three Scotch chewies and tells about the new baby in the parish, and sits with the children and their bags of cookies. At Christmas he wears a bell and a red ribbon, and all the children get free Santa cookies. The cheerful illustrations are done in paint as thick as frosting; the flattened shapes and figures are a bit cookie-shaped themselves. A few recipes are included in this yummy, comforting book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-54329-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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