NIGHT CREATURES

ANIMALS THAT SWOOP, CRAWL, AND CREEP WHILE YOU SLEEP

A child and caregiver enjoy an outdoor fire while night creatures become active around them.

There are a tent and a campfire in a field dotted with trees, a pond in the foreground and a two-story house in the background. Dusk has just given way to night. A bat hangs upside down, and a family of raccoons pokes their heads out of the trunk of a tree. “Night bugs blink on” while other creatures creep in search of food, leap, crouch, prowl, watch, pounce, and snatch. Close-ups of the animals finding their food dominate the spreads, while the brown-skinned child and adult roast marshmallows and point at stars. As morning light appears with the robins and the deer, the human pair walk back toward the house while “night creatures return / to quiet dens / and dusky nooks.” The illustrations effectively represent the night world on the page, with shadow and muted colors that require readers to look closely and pay attention. The spare, lyrical text is rhythmic and soothing, just right for a bedtime story. Most of the animals are not named in the text, which allows space for guesswork and discussion before turning to the full spread of endmatter for more information about the night creatures.

Well executed. (notes) (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8129-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to.

HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER

Pearl and her robot, Pascal, take their coding skills for a spin at the amusement park in this Girls Who Code picture book, a follow-up to How To Code a Sandcastle (2018).

The park has many rides to choose from, and Pearl has 10 tokens to last her the day. But her favorite ride, the Python roller coaster, looks busy. Pearl decides to do something else fun, using code concepts such as variables to keep track of the length of the line and her remaining tokens and a conditional statement to decide when to return to the Python. Throughout, computer science terms are defined crisply in the text and vividly illustrated in the pictures, which use images such as popcorn bags for variables and the Ferris wheel for loops (keeping track of ice cream flavors seems somewhat contrived). The backmatter explains these ideas more fully. Pascal’s too-literal interpretations of Pearl’s statements make for several amusing moments along the way. When Pearl runs short of tokens (a missed opportunity to talk about checking for more than one condition?), she’s undaunted by the disaster, taking readers on a fun hunt for a secret hidden password, in a nod to the importance of proper sequencing. Pearl has brown skin and black curls; others at the park have a variety of skin tones.

Despite minor bumps, a ride that’s worth returning to. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-29203-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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