Bird and animal lovers will enjoy this journey to a remote but welcoming locale.


The intrepid husband-and-wife team’s latest travels take them to Iceland to report on the plight of puffins.

With their usual skilled attention to detail and empathy for animal life, the Lewins take readers to the island of Heimaey off the southern coast of Iceland. There, they recount the annual rescue of baby puffins by children of the Puffling Patrol.  The young birds are often confused by street lights in the small town and must be rescued and returned to the shore. Focusing on brother-and-sister twins in one Icelandic family, the Lewins provide fascinating information on the adorable birds and the special attention they receive. Whether sheltered in a box or held carefully in the children’s hands, the pufflings are irresistible. The lush watercolor paintings and detailed pen-and-ink sketches draw readers into this remote land and provide many charming close-up views of the colorful seabirds. Like animal life all over, puffins are threatened by global warming, and fewer and fewer numbers are recorded each year, making the twins’ efforts feel all the more urgent. The Lewins have previously visited and written about elephants in Botswana and India, gorillas in Uganda and horses in Mongolia; this latest travelogue is as informative and attractive.

Bird and animal lovers will enjoy this journey to a remote but welcoming locale. (additional information, resources, glossary and pronunciation guide) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60060-424-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.


An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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