In this companion to the animal gallery in Stripes of All Types (2013), Stockdale focuses her spotlight.
Clustered in big, flat, cleanly drawn scenes reminiscent of Nancy Tafuri’s, creatures from leopard to sea slug, fawn to ladybug pose in artfully variegated natural settings that suggest how spots can be useful as either camouflage or (for poisonous animals) a bright warning display. The accompanying rhyme, split into just a phrase per page, offers general identifications—“Spots on snakes / and gliding snails. // Swimming turtles, / singing quails”—that are backed up at the end by specific (if spotty) notes on names, habitats and distinctive features. Stockdale chooses not to explain what functions the spots on Dalmatians, Holsteins, hogs and some other animals here may serve, nor does she provide a speck of a lead to further information. Still, she does round off with a visual pop quiz (over upside-down answers) that will prompt young viewers to revisit the illustrations for closer looks.
Despite a blotch or two, a spot-on animal gallery for budding naturalists. (Informational picture book. 2-6)