An adept and impressive handling of a sensitive subject.

FOX

A CIRCLE OF LIFE STORY

The cycle of life in the natural world is explained using a fox as the subject.

In this thoughtful picture book, a red fox hunts and feeds her family of three cubs; as the cubs play-hunt, they grow into learning to hunt for real. Then the mother fox is hit and killed by a car. This aspect of the story is presented without anthropomorphic emotion: “Three cubs look around / sniff the ground, / hesitate… / then pad back home.” The story continues, focusing on the fox’s body and what is happening to it as it decomposes. Staying with unemotional science, the narrative tells how the decomposing body nourishes life, from the scavengers and microbes that feed on it to the nutrients it releases to the soil and air. In this way, readers come to understand that death and life are inextricably linked and that death is a catalyst for new life. The collage-style, full-color illustrations show the maturing cubs continuing to thrive, reassuring readers and reinforcing the circle-of-life theme. The illustrations vary presentations, alternating double-page spreads, spots, and full-page spreads. The images of the foxes are lively and delicate, while the forest world depicted creates an evocative setting. A thorough, scientific explanation of what happens to the physical body after death is presented at the book’s end. Members of a human family briefly illustrated have black hair and light beige skin.

An adept and impressive handling of a sensitive subject. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0692-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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THE HONEYBEE MAN

Tell it to the bees. The ancient art of beekeeping is alive and well in Brooklyn, N.Y. Fred is dedicated to his bees and greets them each morning on his rooftop. He has named the queens Mab, Boadicea and Nefertiti, after legendary historic figures; the bees are his “sweeties” and his “darlings.” He hums with them as they swarm and flies with them in his imagination as they search for the most fragrant flowers. When the time is right, he carefully gathers their honey, jars it, shares it with his neighbors and, of course, savors some of that luscious honey himself. Nargi’s descriptive language is filled with smell and sound and sight, carrying readers right up to that rooftop with Fred, while seamlessly interweaving detailed information about beekeeping. An afterword of “amazing facts” explains more about apiarists, bees’ life cycles and more, all in light, easy-to-understand syntax. Brooker’s oil-and-collage illustrations, appropriately rendered in greens and browns, golds and ambers, enhance the text beautifully. They accurately depict Fred’s and the bees’ actions while creating a stylized, fanciful view of a homey Brooklyn neighborhood, complete with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Even the endpapers are integral to the work, presenting labeled diagrams of bees and beekeeping materials. Eccentric and unusual with an appealing, gentle charm. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-84980-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

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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