With its undistinguished poetry but warm feelings and appealing paintings, this is an additional choice for some home...



Snuggling families, whether human or animal, are comforting and reassuring presences at bedtime.

Bookended by sentimentalized portraits of a white mother and two small white children in their pajamas, the verse starts off with exalted language: “When Mother Earth bids goodnight, / she casts her shafts of silver light. / She says: ‘Goodnight, my precious ones.’ / Nature’s song has just begun.” The scene switches to the natural world and successive double-page spreads are filled with lush, vibrantly colored paintings that usually show a parent animal and its young one(s) at night in their environment. Rhyming couplets describe each scene, not always smoothly: “Nene young quieting, / get warm below their mama’s wing,” reads the text as the illustration presents goslings and their mother among hibiscus blooms. The animal paintings are realistic and engaging, but there is no sense of accurate scale. The animals included are threatened or endangered by issues including human encroachment, climate change, and animal predators. These are described briefly in the backmatter. There is an unfortunate editorial mistake; a description of a red-tailed Amazon parrot has been substituted for the toucan pictured in the primary text. The book ends with an upbeat page, inexplicably lacking illustrations but detailing a few animals whose numbers have recently rebounded. There is no map and only one web resource.

With its undistinguished poetry but warm feelings and appealing paintings, this is an additional choice for some home libraries. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-557-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.


From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one.


From the My First series

Kitten care presented early-reader style.

“Something soft and furry / Is coming home with me. // It is my new kitten. / She is as sweet as can be!” First-person, easy-reading text describes meeting the kitten, feeding the kitten, playing with the kitten, then taking it to the vet and keeping it safe. The first half of this volume is presented in rhyme with Wachter's photos of real children of various races and their kittens (always the same kitten-and-child pairings) imposed on simple cartoon backgrounds. On other pages, photos of kittens (all cute as the dickens) leaping, scratching, running, and sleeping appear against similar backgrounds. The second half reiterates the same information but in more detail. It passes on instructions in simple language for tasks like introducing a kitten to its litter box and interpreting the sounds and body language of your new furry friend. Jumping the species barrier, Biscuit creator Capucilli does a fine job of instructing young, new pet owners in the care of their wee feline friends in this companion to My First Puppy (2019). This helpful guidebook ends with a message encouraging aspiring young pet friends to adopt from shelters. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85.7% of actual size.)

Good advice and good reading practice rolled into one. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7754-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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