No red—but lots of tooth and claw on display.

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APEX PREDATORS

THE WORLD'S DEADLIEST HUNTERS, PAST AND PRESENT

Face-to-face introductions to over two dozen creatures it would be better to avoid.

Labeling each predator as either extinct or modern-day, Jenkins arranges his paper-collage portraits—most of them rendered, as usual, with seemingly miraculous realism—in no readily obvious order. Starting off with the cruel-beaked “terror bird” (extinct) of South America and toothy views of a gaping Siberian tiger and T. Rex, he proceeds past African wild dogs (“some of the most successful predators on earth, with nine out of ten hunts ending in a kill”), the electric eel, killer pig Daedon, 48-foot-long (14.5 m) Titanoboa, and like threats to the spiderlike Trigonotarbid, just an inch long (2.5 cm) but 400 million years ago one of the largest predators on land. Then, in true browser-rousing fashion, he proposes several matchups, like the Siberian tiger vs. Utahraptor. Place your bets! Each creature comes with descriptive notes and a small silhouette posed next to a human (“The deadliest predator”) for scale. Measurements for each creature are provided in first English and then metric units. The bibliography includes an unremarkable assortment of reference works and websites.

No red—but lots of tooth and claw on display. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-67160-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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