ANIMAL RESCUE

THE BEST JOB THERE IS

Goodman (Ultimate Field Trip #3, p. 799, etc.) offers the riveting and true account of John Walsh, who has dedicated his life to saving animals. The subject is surprisingly accessible in the Ready-To-Read series format; the suspense of the story will keep emerging readers turning pages. The tale opens in Suriname, a jungle in South America, where Walsh is hurriedly canoeing to reach trapped animals before the rising water levels overtake them. A dam that has been built across one of Suriname’s rivers is causing the water to back up and flood the jungle. Walsh and his crew are plucking sloths off of the topmost branches of trees and saving starved tortoises from their perches on the last bit of dry land. The two other chapters cover Walsh’s exciting work in a Kuwaiti zoo after the Gulf War, and in Kobe, Japan, in the wake of an earthquake. Full-color photographs on every page enrich the already evocative text. (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-81794-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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PIGS

Gibbons’s 100th book is devoted to presenting swine in a positive light; she quickly demystifies the stereotypes that cast pigs as smelly, dirty, greedy, and dull. Descended and domesticated from the wild boar, pigs come in hundreds of varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes; in simple language, the book outlines their characteristics, breeds, intelligence, communication, habits, and uses. The author distinguishes the various terms—hog, swine, gilt, sow, boar—while also explaining the act of wallowing in mud. The bulk of the text is characteristically factual, but Gibbons allows herself an opinion or two: “They are cute and lovable with their curly tails, their flat pink snouts and their noisy squeals and grunts.” Pen-and-watercolor drawings show sprightly pigs and a plethora of pink-cheeked children in tranquil farm scenes. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1441-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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