Frankly fantastic but fact-filled fun.



Dr. Glider diagnoses ailing animal patients and dispenses intriguing biology facts.

The author of Pink Is for Blobfish, illustrated by David DeGrand (2016), and its equally engaging sequels has adopted a new persona: Dr. Glider, a sugar glider, who travels the world in a variety of costumes and vehicles to explain to ailing animals why they feel bad and what they can do about it. The titular crocodile, for example, needs to swallow rocks (as do many birds, seals, and sea lions) to help with digestion. Each spread introduces a different animal species, with a different problem to be solved by the Oxford-educated doctor. On each spread, a question and answer appear in speech bubbles. A column of illustrated boxes on the right side adds four additional bits of intriguing information. The formatting of the text, with the serious facts set in a staid typeface and foolery in a somewhat more playful one, will help readers distinguish between fact and fancy. Keating’s language is full of puns, but her science is spot-on. Oswald’s cartoons add humor. Dr. Glider’s patients range from Will de Beest (an opportunity to introduce the concepts altricial and precocial) to Myrtle Meerkat (matriarchy and teamwork). They’re all identified with Latin names in the backmatter, where there is also a profile of Dr. Glider and a glossary that reveals the broad array of concepts and terms covered, from adaptation to venom.

Frankly fantastic but fact-filled fun. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-23988-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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


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 winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.


An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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