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

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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This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president.

HONEY, THE DOG WHO SAVED ABE LINCOLN

A slice of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood life is explored through a fictionalized anecdote about his dog Honey.

When 7-year-old Abe rescues a golden-brown dog with a broken leg, he takes the pup home to the Lincolns’ cabin in Knob Creek, Kentucky. Honey follows Abe everywhere, including trailing after his owner into a deep cave. When Abe gets stuck between rocks, Honey goes for help and leads a search party back to the trapped boy for a dramatic rescue. The source for this story was a book incorporating the memories of Abe’s boyhood friend, explained in an author’s note. The well-paced text includes invented dialogue attributed to Abe and his parents. Abe’s older sister, Sarah, is not mentioned in the text and is shown in the illustrations as a little girl younger than Abe. All the characters present white save for one black man in the rescue crew. An oversized format and multiple double-page spreads provide plenty of space for cartoon-style illustrations of the Lincoln cabin, the surrounding countryside, and the spooky cave where Abe was trapped. This story focuses on the incident in the cave and Abe’s rescue; a more complete look at Lincoln’s life is included in an appended timeline and the author’s note, both of which include references to Lincoln’s kindness to animals and to other pets he owned.

This heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved dog opens the door for further study of our 16th president. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-269900-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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