Very little information is available for this age group about these microscopic creatures, making this an especially welcome...

TINY CREATURES

THE WORLD OF MICROBES

Invisible to the human eye, some of the tiniest creatures are known do some of the biggest jobs on Earth.

Davies, who surveyed Extreme Animals (illustrated by Neal Layton, 2006) and encouraged readers to look Outside Your Window (illustrated by Mark Hearld, 2012), here presents examples of microbial life and the work that microbes do. This experienced science communicator makes an immediate connection to her readers, using their prior knowledge of big whales and small ants to convey how tiny microbes can be. She gives examples of their sizes and numbers, their varied shapes, their habitats, appetites and how they eat. Microorganisms slowly change food into compost, milk into yogurt and rocks into soil. They reproduce by dividing, and they’re very good at it. Luckily, only a few can make us sick; most are busily engaged in other vital tasks. They are “the invisible transformers of our world.” Sutton’s watercolor illustrations support and enhance the text. Thoughtful book design adds to the appeal, with generous white space, illustrative vignettes as well as paintings that fill a page or a spread, and an unusually legible type. This will show well when read aloud and intrigue emergent readers.

Very little information is available for this age group about these microscopic creatures, making this an especially welcome introduction. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7315-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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