A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Sound tadpole philosophy.

BEING FROG

This photo essay about the eponymous amphibian includes simple rhyming sentences both informative and appreciative.

The first verso states boldly: “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing.” The photograph across the gutter presents a close-up view of a green frog’s face against a blurry, muted, outdoor background. The simple verses scan well throughout. Many of the sentences use “It” to refer to the frog whose life is being studied; just one “It” has a different antecedent, which throws a slight curve during initial reading. However, this small book of relatively few words manages to say a lot. Some pages give readers a rudimentary understanding of a frog’s daily life and the life cycle of a frog. Others provide gentle reminders that these are sentient creatures whose lives are only partly understood by human beings. (“Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.”) The excellent photography—with sharp images that join the text in provoking humor, interest, and reverence—attests to the author’s note about spending a good deal of time observing frogs at a nearby pond. The author’s note itself is lovely: While offering fascinating details about her own encounters with specific frogs, it also clarifies for young readers the difference between scientific and anecdotal research—and the value in both. The youngest readers will love the photographs and rhymes; slightly older children will also appreciate the author’s note.

Sound tadpole philosophy. (resources) (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2881-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Nosy fun conveyed in verse that can induce wincing.

WHOSE NOSE DO YOU SUPPOSE?

Twelve different animal noses lead to 12 short, versified identifications of each animal and a few facts about it.

Two gray, furry legs with long, dark claws reach into a stretch of stark white space on the first verso. On the recto is an enormous, realistically portrayed black nose protruding from a white, whiskered, foreshortened snout. A pink tongue and the bottoms of dark eyes are also visible. A strip of white frame underneath sports the boldly lettered question of the title. The next page shows a group of meerkats standing upright in an ochre desert. The text shows the animal name and then resorts to rhyming couplets to explain: “In faraway Africa, you will find this nose / where it’s dusty and dry and not much grows.” A few more lines describe the meerkat’s claws, burrow, and speed, with stumbling syllabic emphases (“marvelous eyesight” rhymes with “the cold desert night”). The layout, painterly artwork, and repeated litany of the title line work beautifully together throughout. The attempted poetry is a detractor, twice exoticizing Africa, sometimes substituting banality for facts to create a couplet, and sometimes resorting to absurdly stretched near rhymes. Readers will find themselves wishing Turner had chosen to write this in straight text. The idea is an original way to introduce the youngest children to different kinds of animals, and preschoolers will enjoy the interaction of guessing each animal before the turn of the page.

Nosy fun conveyed in verse that can induce wincing. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-76036-062-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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