Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further...

HIDDEN WILDLIFE

HOW ANIMALS HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT

Animals’ shapes, coloring, and behaviors allow them to conceal and reveal themselves.

Arnosky uses his considerable artistic talents to demonstrate how animal camouflage works using examples from across the animal kingdom and throughout the year. Acrylic paintings (including foldout spreads) and occasional pencil studies show animals in their natural habitats, where colors, patterns, and the play of light work to allow them to seem to vanish. He suggests looking at these paintings from across the room to see how a Florida panther can vanish in the grass or a moose into a forest. He uses familiar examples such as a spotted fawn on a forest floor or a female blackbird in the reeds as well as surprising ones: a bittern stretched tall like the grasses around it; a scorpion fish blending in color and texture with its perch on a mound of coral. He discusses the role of the countershading—dark above and light below—so often found in birds and marine animals. Pencil drawings show how some insect shapes mimic parts of plants and how a fawn’s spots will disappear over time. Loosely organized into chapters with short introductions, his examples are captioned with short explanatory paragraphs. Most come from his own observations and experiences over many years of exploring and researching the natural world.

Read aloud or alone, this will heighten anyone’s appreciation for “Nature…the ultimate artist.” (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2097-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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