A posh performance to read aloud or alone.

BIRD SHOW

Birds strut their stuff in a feather fashion show.

Using rhyming couplets set on clean, bright pages, Stockdale introduces 18 spectacular birds from around the world, imagining their plumage as clothes. The opening couplet reminds readers that all birds are “decked out in feathers.” A concluding paragraph reinforces the concept—only birds have feathers. Even the endpapers show feathers. From the European bee-eater (found in Africa, Europe, and western Asia) to Central and South America’s scarlet macaw, these striking birds pose in acrylic paintings, each resplendent in saturated colors and accompanied by its own imagined self-description. A suit, a scarf, an apron, even a fan, a crown, a train—these birds wear 18 different pieces of clothing or fashion accessories. The clever comparisons suggest a new way to see and remember these species. Some are familiar to U.S.–based readers (starling, cardinal, flicker) and some less so (marvellous spatuletail and resplendent quetzal). Three different birds of paradise show off astonishing tails. While some vocabulary might be challenging for a fledgling reader, the smoothly written couplets follow a predictable pattern (one long sentence, two short) and are set in a large font. As in Fantastic Flowers (2017), Bring on the Birds (2011), and other earlier works, the writer supplies thumbnails in the backmatter, with text identifying each bird, noting generally where it might be found, and explaining a bit more about its remarkable features. There’s even a match-the-colors-and-patterns puzzle.

A posh performance to read aloud or alone. (Informational picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-128-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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