At once eye-closing and eye-opening.

A SONGBIRD DREAMS OF SINGING

POEMS ABOUT SLEEPING ANIMALS

Somniferous verses, paired with scientific observations, survey styles of sleep in the animal world.

Firmly in control of language and rhyme schemes but varying tone and tempo as she goes, Hosford marvels at the sleep habits of 18 creatures. These range from sperm whales (“Oh mighty mothers of the sea / Why do you slumber vertically?”) to fire ants (“You didn’t know, perhaps / That this ant takes power naps. / It’s quite a short collapse. / (Sixty seconds will elapse.) / How many naps will there be? / About two hundred and fifty-three.” In the substantial prose glosses that accompany each short poem, she offers further downtime marvels, such as how some whales sleep head up or head down, or even drift between the two positions, and a tale of a desert snail that was exhibited at the British Museum as an empty shell for four years, then successfully revived. Nor does she leave readers in the dark about how some animals rest parts of their brains in succession or the differences among nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, and cathemeral creatures, covering these facts in an opening author’s note. In Potter’s suitably dreamy, subdued illustrations, floating sea otters hold paws, ocelot cubs nestle in a cozy hollow, a “flamboyance” of flamingos stand one-legged in shallow water, and even an upside-down jellyfish (“It isn’t easy to explain / How she’s so smart / without a brain”) looks drowsy.

At once eye-closing and eye-opening. (glossary) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6714-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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