THE FROG

Seldom has a common frog looked so regal, outside of a fairy tale, as in this gloriously illustrated life cycle. Describing the common European frog in rich detail, the author records how the frog stalks his first meal, a pink juicy worm, after the winter hibernation: “He bides his time, toes twitching. Then he pounces, seizing the wriggling prey in his wide mouth. He scrapes off the dirt with delicate fingers before gulping it down whole.” The frog finds other creatures to munch on the way to the pond, and narrowly misses becoming a meal for a hedgehog. At the pond, he mates, and then the text and illustrations describe the process by which the tiny jelly-like eggs hatch into tadpoles and develop into froglets and finally frogs. Kitchen's cutaway pond paintings are especially compelling as they show the frogs above and below the surface of the pond. Readers in the US, more familiar with the common green leopard frog, will find many similar elements in the life cycle of this golden bronze neighbor, Rana temporaria. Part of the Animal Lives series by Kingfisher, including The Rabbit (not reviewed). The Rabbit which focuses on a European rabbit, rather than the familiar cottontail of the US. These are handsome, informative, inexpensive titles with outstanding illustrations. (frog facts, Web sites and organizations for more information, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7534-5215-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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