Children are in no danger of encountering detailed information about animal offenses and defenses, or even a thrill or two,...

THE MOST DANGEROUS

A talent show of dangerous animals misses the mark in so many ways.

Parading before a panel of quaking human judges, a paltry 10 contestants for the titular trophy flash fangs, teeth or other weapons. They do so in closely cropped painted portraits that—except for the slavering, charging Cape buffalo—fail to deliver any sense of menace, motion or even size. The animals’ own statements are equally unimpressive, ranging from the saltwater crocodile’s obscure, “When a person or animal comes by, I explode from the water and drown him,” to the great white shark’s unconvincing “I have 3,000 teeth that bite really hard.” The “winner” turns out to be the mosquito, which (a judge awkwardly explains) “because of its blood-sucking spreads the most sickness and death in the entire animal kingdom.” Neither the main text nor the enrichment quizzes and other material at the back and online elaborate on this baldly stated claim.

Children are in no danger of encountering detailed information about animal offenses and defenses, or even a thrill or two, from this quick wash of generalities. (map) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-607185-260

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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