Booford is the dog who just moved into the house across the street from ten-year-old Hayley Larken. Gregarious, animal-loving Hayley is outraged because Booford's owner, mean Mr. Wood, yells at the dog and never takes him for walks. She concocts schemes to get Mr. Wood to walk Booford, but finally follows her father's advice and just asks Mr. Wood if she can walk his dog. To Hayley's surprise, he agrees. Hayley begins walking Booford and making friends with Mr. Wood, who is not really mean at all, merely lonely. She discovers that Mr. Wood's wife has left him ``to find herself'' and that Booford was her dog. No wonder Mr. Wood looks so sad! Hayley then decides to help Mr. Wood just as she had helped the now happy Booford. But calling Mr. Wood's wife in Richmond is going too far. After a small blowup and a little drama, Hayley realizes that butting in to Mr. Wood's life is not the answer. The best thing she can do for him is just to be his friend. Smith pulls out all the standard children's-book tricks here: the not-really-mean next-door neighbor; the kindly, all-knowing dad; the spunky, busy-body heroine and her Trekkie best friend. The lack of a reunion between Mr. Wood and his wife is the only somewhat surprising element, but Smith makes even that seem conventional. A write-by-numbers novel. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-66590-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1994

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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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Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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