An obvious choice for animal-focused storytimes, but it’s no match for the baby animal titles by wildlife photographer Suzi...

BABY PANDA CHEWS BAMBOO

From the First Discoveries series

A panda cub’s childhood documented with photographs and a simple text.

This latest addition to the First Discoveries series from the American Museum of Natural History offers irresistible images of young panda cubs, from the helpless, pinkish newborn to independence a few months after the first birthday. Like earlier series titles about penguins, wolves, and dolphins, this is essentially an album of photographs culled from varied sources and strung together in a chronological text that follows the animal as it grows up. Each double-page spread has one or several photographs, accompanied by a paragraph or two of relatively simple text describing the cub’s behavior—in particular, its feeding habits. Readers and listeners will come away with important information about pandas, but it is the close-up photographs that steal the show. Although the animals pictured are likely different, they look alike; readers will probably assume they are following a single animal’s journey, especially since information about the images is limited to a list of credits on the copyright page. The book concludes with a message from “the expert,” Angelo Soto-Centeno, a bat specialist at the museum.

An obvious choice for animal-focused storytimes, but it’s no match for the baby animal titles by wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas, which do focus on specific animals. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2740-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one.

MY FIRST KITTEN

From the My First series

Kitten care presented early-reader style.

“Something soft and furry / Is coming home with me. // It is my new kitten. / She is as sweet as can be!” First-person, easy-reading text describes meeting the kitten, feeding the kitten, playing with the kitten, then taking it to the vet and keeping it safe. The first half of this volume is presented in rhyme with Wachter's photos of real children of various races and their kittens (always the same kitten-and-child pairings) imposed on simple cartoon backgrounds. On other pages, photos of kittens (all cute as the dickens) leaping, scratching, running, and sleeping appear against similar backgrounds. The second half reiterates the same information but in more detail. It passes on instructions in simple language for tasks like introducing a kitten to its litter box and interpreting the sounds and body language of your new furry friend. Jumping the species barrier, Biscuit creator Capucilli does a fine job of instructing young, new pet owners in the care of their wee feline friends in this companion to My First Puppy (2019). This helpful guidebook ends with a message encouraging aspiring young pet friends to adopt from shelters. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85.7% of actual size.)

Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7754-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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