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FLYING FROGS AND WALKING FISH

LEAPING LEMURS, TUMBLING TOADS, JET-PROPELLED JELLYFISH, AND MORE SURPRISING WAYS THAT ANIMALS MOVE

Good for browsing—with the potential for launching readers into further investigation.

Tackling the hows and whys of six kinds of animal movement, Jenkins and Page present 46 creatures in paper collages against crisp white backgrounds.

The format is clean and simple. A double-page spread introduces a type of movement and depicts a single animal. A cogent paragraph provides reasons for the adaptation. A common octopus is shown walking on the seafloor on two of its eight legs. Walking “doesn’t take a lot of energy, and the slow pace makes it easy to watch for food or danger.” The next spread presents six walkers—some of them surprising. The red-lipped batfish and sea pig also walk on the seafloor. A fishing spider can walk on water’s surface, and a red kangaroo uses its tail as “a fifth leg.” The narrative section about “flying” animals might more properly have been termed “gliding.” The text does distinguish between “true fliers” and “gliders”—animals that “sail through the air, but only for a limited distance.” However, only one of the section’s seven animals (the rhinoceros beetle) is capable of true flight, and common names like “flying snake,” “flying frog,” and “flying fish” further muddy the concept. Layered papers—cut, torn, and precisely chosen for color and texture—form creatures and occasional bits of habitat.

Good for browsing—with the potential for launching readers into further investigation. (glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-63090-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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