Another appealing title in a long series of demonstrations of nature’s wonders.

READ REVIEW

THE FROG BOOK

A prolific author/illustrator couple explores the world of frogs.

Once again, Jenkins and Page prove their ability to choose interesting examples, write short, child-friendly explanations, and portray salient features of animals with deftly cut and torn paper images set on white paper. They introduce frogs as “creatures of two worlds,” water and land. The next spread displays half-sized images of 10 of the more than 5,500 frog species currently identified, showing an adult human hand in comparison. In two subsequent spreads, they highlight distinguishing characteristics of frogs as well as of the subset that are called toads, and they define the three major groups of amphibians: frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, and caecilians. They show development from egg through tadpole to adult. Then come examples of remarkable behaviors, drawn from varied environments around the world. These behaviors include adaptations for attracting a mate, caring (or not caring) for eggs, habitat, diet, and defenses. Finally, in a spread on threats, they compare frogs to a “canary in a coal mine” (explaining the reference). A concluding table lists all 30 frogs shown, with body length, diet, and range and acts as an index by indicating page numbers where these frogs can be found. (Helpfully and fairly unusually, for a picture book, there are numbers on every spread.) The backmatter also includes a good list of other books for young readers as well as internet sources.

Another appealing title in a long series of demonstrations of nature’s wonders. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-38760-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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