TURTLE IN THE SEA

Another nature lesson and environmental message from a specialist in translating the wonders of the natural world into terms children can understand. Arnosky (Field Trips, p. 405, etc.) gives the reader a peek into the life of a female sea turtle. As she comes to shore to lay her eggs, the scars we see on her shell serve as a segue for looking into her past. They tell the story of the many disasters, both natural and manmade, that she has encountered. A narrow escape from a shark resulted in one mark, while the crack in her shell was the consequence of a run-in with a motorboat. The scrapes and chips happened when the raging swirls of a waterspout caught her and tossed her about, finally landing her on the beach. Her final mishap left her unmarked, but wiser—as she was chasing some fish to eat, she became tangled in a fisherman’s net. Luckily, the man collected his fish, and set her free. Throughout it all, her survival instinct was strong. She had to survive for her children—the eggs she now lays, covers with sand, and leaves. The reader will see the hatchlings crawl to the sea, but the mother will not: “That is the turtle way.” Throughout, readers will marvel over Arnosky’s characteristic watercolor paintings, which truly bring nature to life. The soft blues, greens, and yellows of the water bring the reader right into the sea with the turtle. Especially captivating are his depictions of the mangrove cove where the turtle recuperates, and the adorable hatchlings as they scurry to the sea. Arnosky’s gentle combination of lesson and beautiful artwork will serve to capture the nature-lover in every child. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-399-22757-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2002

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CHATO'S KITCHEN

Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. The invitees, a family of five fat mice who just moved in next door, haven't an inkling that they are the intended main course. But when the mice bring along their friend Chorizo (a worldly mutt in a slouch beret) to share the grub, he thwarts the cats' connivings. This unlikely three- species chow-down is a sweet salute to Spanish cooking, with fajitas, frijoles, and quesadillas sharing center stage. Soto delivers a spare, clever text; the words skip like stones across water—``His tail began to swing to the rhythm. He felt the twinge of mambo in his hips.'' Guevara's swarming, luxuriant illustrations give the atmosphere palpability, with brushstrokes so fresh readers will want to stick their fingers in the paint to feel its texture. Menace hangs in the air; the artist mixes the sinisterness of R. Crumb with moments of Edvard Munch terror, yet it seems likely from the outset that the mice are more than capable of looking after themselves. Incidental touches—little devils and angels darting about, a bird wedding glimpsed through a window—are there for the sharp-eyed. Smart, with a nice edge. Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22658-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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