Supported by helpful backmatter including a simple map, this will interest animal-fact lovers and primary classroom teachers...

MEET MY FAMILY!

ANIMAL BABIES AND THEIR FAMILIES

Animal babies from around the world describe their families.

This information-packed title not only describes varied family structures and child-rearing practices, it gives the proper names of the children for each of 23 species and, for nine, the word for “mother” or “father” rendered in the language appropriate to the animal’s home. Appealing digital paintings show animals, usually a parent and offspring, in their usual habitat. Set directly on the image in thin but readable type is the animal child’s statement: “I’m in charge of all my meals” (white rhino calf); “My dad gives piggybacks” (poison dart frog tadpole); “I’m a super sister” (meerkat pup). The examples come from around the world; the parental behaviors represent the wide variety seen among humans. Often a spread will show contrasts: beavers live in one place, orangutans “move around a bunch”; sharks look just like their parents, ladybugs are markedly different as larvae and pupae. For same-sex or adoptive families, the author offers one-of-a-kind or unusual examples: the male chinstrap penguin pair from a New York zoo; a dog named Guddi who adopted a monkey; female albatross parenting pairs in Hawaii. She concludes with a spread of diverse human families of varying and sometimes contrasting colors, ethnicities, and composition.

Supported by helpful backmatter including a simple map, this will interest animal-fact lovers and primary classroom teachers alike. (glossary, map and key, author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2532-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A delightful story of love and hope.

OUR SUBWAY BABY

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A simple but effective look at a keystone species.

IF YOU TAKE AWAY THE OTTER

Sea otters are the key to healthy kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America.

There have been several recent titles for older readers about the critical role sea otters play in the coastal Pacific ecosystem. This grand, green version presents it to even younger readers and listeners, using a two-level text and vivid illustrations. Biologist Buhrman-Deever opens as if she were telling a fairy tale: “On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.” The treelike forms are kelp, home to numerous creatures. Two spreads show this lush underwater jungle before its king, the sea otter, is introduced. A delicate balance allows this system to flourish, but there was a time that hunting upset this balance. The writer is careful to blame not the Indigenous peoples who had always hunted the area, but “new people.” In smaller print she explains that Russian explorations spurred the development of an international fur trade. Trueman paints the scene, concentrating on an otter family threatened by formidable harpoons from an abstractly rendered person in a small boat, with a sailing ship in the distance. “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” Sea urchins take over; a page turn reveals a barren landscape. Happily, the story ends well when hunting stops and the otters return…and with them, the kelp forests.

A simple but effective look at a keystone species. (further information, select bibliography, additional resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8934-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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