AT THIS VERY MOMENT

With a gentle rhythm, unforced rhymes and near rhymes and perfect pacing, this bedtime story encourages children to think, dream and wonder about the lives of animals in the wild. Arnosky takes his readers and listeners through a day. Beginning with the moment of waking up, he matches the child’s possible activities to those of an animal. Brushing teeth? “A toothy shark / is circling a reef.” Drinking water from a fountain? “Someplace in the forest / a deer drinks from a pool.” Eating your peas? An owl, a beaver, a rattlesnake and a blue jay are eating too. From raccoons that live in his woodshed to a black bear with cinnamon cubs photographed by a friend in Yellowstone and lions from his dreams, this prolific author-illustrator draws on long experience of nature-watching, drawing, painting and imagining to produce beautiful double-page spreads showing animals in their natural habitats. A band of bighorn sheep walks a narrow mountain trail. A finback whale surfaces, not far from seals on rocks off the Maine coast. A semi-palmated plover perches on an alligator’s gaping jaw. While the focus animal is clear from the lines on the page, readers with some knowledge will be able to identify other species in these realistic images. In an afterword, Arnosky explains his connection to each animal. Children lucky enough to encounter this book will feel connected, too. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-42252-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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SCAREDY SQUIRREL HAS A BIRTHDAY PARTY

From the Scaredy Squirrel series , Vol. 5

When Scaredy Squirrel plans a party, he concentrates on maximum security, not maximum fun. His checklist: "Confirm date of birth; pick a safe location; choose party colors; get tuxedo dry-cleaned; prepare cake recipe; practice breathing (to blow up balloons/blow out candles); mail party invitation to myself." That's right—there’s only one guest at Scaredy's birthday party, and it's himself. But when his chum Buddy sends him a birthday card, he reconsiders his guest list to include his pal, even making the momentous decision to hold his party on the ground instead of in his tree. Replete with the lists and diagrams that are this OCD rodent's hallmarks, the story unfolds with both humor and some useful etiquette tips. From conversational gambits (good: "If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?"; bad: "Is that a muskrat on your head? Oops... it's a toupee") to the "dos and don'ts of partying" (do: sit quietly; don't: double-dip), kids will find much to laugh at and think about. Typically (for a Scaredy adventure), despite a plan so complete it includes tooth-brushing breaks, a surprise happens—party animals show up! Watt’s wry digital illustrations make the most of the perceived mayhem, using a host of graphic conventions to tell her story. There's no question it's a formula by now, but it's still a winning one. Many happy returns, Scaredy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-468-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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