Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard.

NOT A BUTTERFLY ALPHABET BOOK

“It’s about time moths had their own book!”

Pallotta extends his many topical alphabet books (most recently The Crab Alphabet Book, illustrated by Tom Leonard, 2019) with this seeming rebuttal to the glut of butterfly books. Collaborator Bersani’s Prismacolor pencil and Photoshop illustrations are hands-down the stars here. Up-close pictures in brilliant, naturalistic colors and patterns dazzle the eye and will surely send readers out the door to hunt for some moth species. (The absence of a map and info about individual species’ ranges may hamper them, though.) Pallotta rounds out the single large-font sentence identifying the letter of the alphabet and the species (“G is for Green Lips Moth”) with a paragraph of information. These vary widely in both amount of information and relevance, many of them addressing moths in general rather than a specific moth. C (cow moth), for instance, talks about how most moths land (wings spread, as opposed to butterflies, which usually land with their wings folded), and D (diamond moth) makes a snarky comparison to a Delta Dart fighter jet. Though several pages talk about ways moths camouflage themselves, it’s not until the letter I that the term is used: “This yellow moth is camouflaged when sitting on a yellow flower.” Other entries teach readers about wing scales, anatomy, moths’ attraction to light, their life cycle, a bit about what they eat and what eats them, and a few other differences between moths and butterflies.

Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-689-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Never underestimate the feats an animal will brave in order to be reunited with their loved ones.

TRUMAN

A tiny tortoise discovers just how brave he is when his girl unexpectedly takes a bus headed away from home.

Truman, like his girl, Sarah, is quiet, “peaceful and pensive,” unlike the busy, noisy city outside their building’s window. In just the first few spreads, Reidy and Cummins manage to capture the close relationship between the girl and her pet, so it’s understandable that Truman should worry when he adds up the day’s mysterious clues: a big backpack, a large banana, a bow in Sarah’s hair, extra green beans in Truman’s dish, and, especially, Sarah boarding the No. 11 bus. He’s so worried that he decides to go after her, a daunting feat for a tortoise the size of a small doughnut. Cummins’ gouache, brush marker, charcoal, colored pencil, and digital illustrations marvelously convey both the big picture of Truman’s navigation of the house and his tortoise’s-eye view of things. And the ending, when Sarah arrives home in time to scoop him up before he slips under the front door, stuttering her amazement at his brave feats, is just right. Sarah and her mother have pale skin and straight, black hair; other city dwellers are diverse. Peaceful and pensive like Truman himself, this book charms; there’s just something uplifting and wonderful about the whole package.

Never underestimate the feats an animal will brave in order to be reunited with their loved ones. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1664-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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