A good guessing game but not a great resource to take into the field.

READ REVIEW

WHOSE TRACK IS THAT?

From the Wildlife Picture Books series

When Tekiela, who previously challenged readers to guess Whose Baby Butt? (2018) can’t find any animal butts, he must make do with snapping pics of their tracks.

The first of two double-page spreads gives readers a close-up photo of an animal track in sand, snow, or mud on the recto and a large-print clue, a tiny silhouette of the animal, and a small-print hint on the verso, the combination of which makes it almost impossible for readers not to be successful. (“This animal’s front paws look like a person’s hand, with five fingers. / It sometimes even dunks its food in water! / Whose track is that? / HINT: This animal has black rings around its tail.”) The following spread reveals a full-color picture of the animal (a raccoon, in this case) and some information about it. The photos of the tracks are a mixed bag. Some are difficult to make out, and the majority show only a single print, though the otter’s row of tracks does include a slide. Robin, bullfrog, earthworm, deer, bobcat, dog, beaver, Canada goose, and bear are the other animals. A backmatter spread of the full tracks of each animal provides readers with very clear illustrations for comparison, but there is no guidance on where to look for or how to cast tracks. Each is labeled with the relative size of the print, and a ruler (in inches only) runs along the bottom.

A good guessing game but not a great resource to take into the field. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59193-958-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Adventure Publications

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

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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