WHAT DO THEY DO WITH ALL THAT POO?

Countless zoo books line the shelves, but how often does one discuss animal manure—and how a zoo discards it?

Employing the page turn to great effect from the very start, Kurtz is bound to get youngsters’ attention: “At zoo after zoo / the animals chew. / And then … // they poo!” Quick rhymes in boldface type across the top make simple statements about each animal’s toilet habits. “Sloths creep down from trees to poop, / but only once a week. / A penguin shoots its poo out / in a fishy-smelling streak.” Smaller text below offers more in-depth facts: “Why do sloths spend so much energy leaving the protection of trees to poop on the ground? It’s a mystery scientists are trying to solve.” Black’s wide-eyed, expressive animals have personality, but they never cross over to cartoony garishness. After exploring 12 different zoo dwellers, Kurtz then turns her focus to the large amount of poo that accumulates at a zoo every day. What do they do with it? Much is trucked to landfills, but zoos also study it in labs to help understand their animals better. Plus, there are compost options and even elephant-poo paper! A slapdash ending is the only misstep, but the atypical subject matter will surely shine.

A scatological success. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7986-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard.

HELLO AUTUMN!

Rotner follows Hello Spring (2017) with this salute to the fall season.

Name a change seen in northern climes in fall, and Rotner likely covers it here, from plants, trees, and animals to the food we harvest: seeds are spread, the days grow shorter and cooler, the leaves change and fall (and are raked up and jumped in), some animals migrate, and many families celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. As in the previous book, the photographs (presented in a variety of sizes and layouts, all clean) are the stars here, displaying both the myriad changes of the season and a multicultural array of children enjoying the outdoors in fall. These are set against white backgrounds that make the reddish-orange print pop. The text itself uses short sentences and some solid vocabulary (though “deep sleep” is used instead of “hibernate”) to teach readers the markers of autumn, though in the quest for simplicity, Rotner sacrifices some truth. In several cases, the addition of just a few words would have made the following oversimplified statements reflect reality: “Birds grow more feathers”; “Cranberries float and turn red.” Also, Rotner includes the statement “Bees store extra honey in their hives” on a page about animals going into deep sleep, implying that honeybees hibernate, which is false.

Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn (2012) is still the gold standard. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3869-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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