Next book


Judi Barrett may have cautioned readers to Never Take a Shark to the Dentist (illustrated by John Nickle, 2008), and Jean Conder Soule’s sage advice to Never Tease a Weasel (illustrated by George Booth, 1964, 2007) has been passed on for generations. However, Jenkins’s current list of instructions are for the more practical and realistic explorer. That is, if one happens to stumble upon a cassowary or a blue-ringed octopus. Eighteen alliterative rules showcase the dangerous defense mechanisms of animals found in the wild. Jenkins warns readers to “never pet a platypus,” “never harass a hippopotamus” and, true to the title, “never smile at a monkey”—a Rhesus monkey to be precise. Baring teeth can be seen as an aggressive gesture and the monkey may attack. Illustrated with the author’s trademark ingenious paper collage, the animals look serene and unassuming, as is often the case in nature. But turn to the detailed endnotes, and jaws and claws are out with a vengeance. Another stunning environmental lesson from an aficionado of animal behavior. (further reading) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-96620-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

Next book


The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

Next book


From the Henry and Mudge series

Rylant (Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, 1998, etc.) slips into a sentimental mode for this latest outing of the boy and his dog, as she sends Mudge and Henry and his parents off on a camping trip. Each character is attended to, each personality sketched in a few brief words: Henry's mother is the camping veteran with outdoor savvy; Henry's father doesn't know a tent stake from a marshmallow fork, but he's got a guitar for campfire entertainment; and the principals are their usual ready-for-fun selves. There are sappy moments, e.g., after an evening of star- gazing, Rylant sends the family off to bed with: ``Everyone slept safe and sound and there were no bears, no scares. Just the clean smell of trees . . . and wonderful green dreams.'' With its nice tempo, the story is as toasty as its campfire and swaddled in Stevenson's trusty artwork. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81175-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

Close Quickview