Informative and entertaining; good for ocean units, displays, or just plain browsing.

THE CRAB ALPHABET BOOK

Who knew there were so many kinds of crabs? At least 26, in fact.

Pallotta is known for his many alphabet books, ringing the abecedarian changes on such subjects as construction equipment, victory gardens, “icky bugs,” herbs and spices, and dinosaurs, to name just a few. Here, he brushes the sand off of crabs from A to Z. Readers will learn that crabs are decapods, a term that means 10 feet, with crabs qualifying by having eight legs and two claws. The subject itself is intriguing, and paired with Leonard’s realistic acrylic illustrations, the result is striking. Many readers would know a few types, such as fiddler, blue, (zebra) hermit, and king, but most will likely be a surprise: Christmas Island, Halloween, mitten, ghost, velvet, xeno, and yeti. Kids will giggle at the ninja crab and the pom pom crab (which “holds venomous anemones in its claws”). The book is nicely designed, with a capital and lowercase letter in the top corner of each page and the illustration framed with a white border. Humorous notes (“please don’t call a grumpy teacher a crabby teacher—it’s not nice!”) and informational tidbits (“If a crab loses a claw or a leg, it grows back”) appear in faux hand-lettered callout boxes throughout. The Sea Mammal Alphabet Book publishes simultaneously, struggling a bit to meet the ABC format and lacking the impressive unity of this title.

Informative and entertaining; good for ocean units, displays, or just plain browsing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57091-144-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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