Simple words and soft illustrations enhance a fact-based story of squirrels and oak trees.

SQUIRREL'S FAMILY TREE

This rhyming picture book tells the story of a squirrel’s activities and how they relate to the creation of oak trees.

A female squirrel gathers acorns in the fall, burying them beneath the ground in caches. When winter arrives, she holes up in her nest in a tree, but since squirrels do not hibernate—as author Ferry informs readers in her easy style—the squirrel emerges regularly to dig up cached acorns. In spring, baby squirrels are born into the nest, and a new generation takes over. Meanwhile, the acorns the squirrel has not dug up have the chance to germinate (the book’s backmatter, “Nutty Facts,” relates, among other tidbits, that 74 percent of cached acorns aren’t retrieved) and grow into oak trees, thereby continuing the cycle. In this way, using a single squirrel as a focus for readers, the story delivers a larger theme of the role squirrels play in creating oak trees. Illustrator Kang’s broad, soft illustrations, presented in creative perspectives, add to the story’s overall feel of elapsed time—squirrel generations, seasons, and the growth of oak trees are subtly presented. This is especially emphasized by the beginning and concluding double-page spreads; the beginning shows a young white boy with a dog, the ending shows the same landscape but with an elderly white man, a different dog, and more and larger oak trees.

Simple words and soft illustrations enhance a fact-based story of squirrels and oak trees. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-18736-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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