A popular topic explored with humor and respect for its furred, feathered, and four- (more or less) legged cast.

WHO NAMED THEIR PONY MACARONI?

POEMS ABOUT WHITE HOUSE PETS

“Along with children, First Ladies, and presidents, / the executive mansion had notable residents.”

The veteran versifier offers new stanzas on select animals who occupied the White House (often only briefly) or were at least associated with the chief executives. Readers are likely to be impressed by the sheer variety—not just horses, cats, and dogs in abundance, but a mockingbird that Thomas Jefferson “bought from a slave for five shillings,” John Quincy Adams’ alligator and his wife’s silkworms, Benjamin Harrison’s possums, Teddy Roosevelt’s wild menagerie, and more. Singer writes in casual but controlled metrics that lend each poem a fresh, individual character. She also broadens her general theme both by frequently commenting on the experiences or characters of the animals’ presidential owners (“In the White House, / a mouse is not a welcome resident. / Occasionally, neither / is the sitting president”) and adding observations at the end that will resonate with pet owners far from the nation’s capital and several years away from voting age. In lengthy endnotes she adds still more. McAmis uses clipped bits of paper and found materials to create low-relief collages for each poem. Though he depicts Calvin Coolidge’s pair of lion cubs as tigers, the animals and human figures throughout (the latter all white) have homey, domesticated looks.

A popular topic explored with humor and respect for its furred, feathered, and four- (more or less) legged cast. (bibliography) (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-8999-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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