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An admirable, admiring introduction to an intriguing species.

A series of rhyming adjectives and colorful close-up representations introduce this eight-armed sea creature.

The author-illustrator team that produced the successful Countdown (2018) returns with a look at a remarkable, intelligent invertebrate. Slade’s two-level text is set directly on Gonzalez’s luminous illustrations of octopuses in action. The opening and closing spreads feature simple, descriptive sentences. On most of the other spreads, only a single word appears in larger type, accompanied by a paragraph in smaller type discussing relevant octopus behavior and traits and introducing one example from the roughly 300 octopus species. What distinguishes this title from similar ones for young readers is its suitability for reading aloud. The adjectives have a smooth, rhythmic quality: “hunting, building, gliding, changing, grasping, hiding. Luminous, dangerous, adventurous, and utterly tenacious!” The striking close-up artwork will show effectively to a group; older readers or more curious listeners will notice that the illustrations are specific to the examples described in the text. Slade covers feeding, anatomy, defense mechanisms, habitat, egg-laying, and life span of 12 different species including the familiar giant Pacific octopus, the mimic octopus, and the rare, deep-sea glowing sucker octopus, among other examples. In an afterword, the author adds even more information and includes photographs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An admirable, admiring introduction to an intriguing species. (acknowledgments, resources, selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781682633120

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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A boon for beaver storytimes or young naturalists living near beaver streams.

Readers learn about a keystone species and the habitat they create.

In a “House That Jack Built” style (though minus the cumulative repetition), Sonenshine introduces children to beavers. Beginning with a beaver who’s just gnawed down a willow near their lodge, the author moves on to the dam that blocks the stream and protects their domed home and then to the yearlings that are working to repair it with sticks and mud. Muskrats and a musk turtle take advantage of the safety of the beavers’ lodge, while Coyote tries (and fails) to breach it. Then the book turns to other animals that enjoy the benefits of the pond the beavers have created: goose, ducklings, heron, moose. While the beavers aren’t in all these illustrations, evidence of them is. And then suddenly a flood takes out both the dam and the beavers’ lodge. So, the beavers move upstream to find a new spot to dam and build again, coming full circle back to the beginning of the book. Hunter’s ink-and–colored pencil illustrations have a scratchy style that is well suited to the beavers’ pelts, their watery surroundings, and the other animals that share their habitat. Careful observers will be well rewarded by the tiny details. Beavers are mostly nocturnal, which isn’t always faithfully depicted by Hunter. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A boon for beaver storytimes or young naturalists living near beaver streams. (beaver facts, glossary, further resources) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1868-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

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 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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