ALMOST GONE

THE WORLD’S RAREST ANIMALS

This new entry in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out series features some 20 animals that face extinction, along with a couple of handfuls that represent actually extinct species and some that are fighting back, illustrated with Jenkins’s trademark textured collages. Each animal (with the very irritating exception of the leopard on the cover) is accompanied by a brief text block that locates it geographically and estimates the number remaining and provides a brief description of its basic characteristics and the circumstances of its peril. A distribution map at the end gives some sense of worldwide scope and standard adult measurements for each animal. Animals represented include Lonesome George (the last Abington Island Tortoise), the Coelacanth, the Northern Right Whale, the Moa (in the “Gone Forever” category) and the Whooping Crane (“Coming Back”). Although the breadth both geographically and zoologically is as complete as the 40-page picture-book format can allow, with the exception of an introduction, little attempt is made to contextualize the global dimensions of extinction and its effects on biodiversity—and why readers should be concerned. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-053598-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2006

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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