Day: January 31, 2017

Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

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Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

This book doesn’t include any koalas or bears or bison or tigers. Instead it’s full of mammals who tend to be ignored. In fact, I guarantee that there are animals here that you’ve never even heard of! All of them are amazing but for very different reasons. There’s the Cuban Solenodon, an insectivore with a poisonous bite. There’s the impossible to find and count Sand Cat who lives in the deserts of Africa and Central Asia. There’s the stinky Zorilla who can be smelled up to a mile away. Turning the pages of this book is a journey of discovery that is just right for any kid tired of the same old popular animals and up for a look at truly wild animals.

Brown’s tone in the book is masterful. He uses humor perfectly, creating moments of asides that made me guffaw aloud. This is one of the rare nonfiction animal books for children that you won’t mind reading aloud, even multiple times! It is full of fun facts, interesting tidbits and then that zing of humor that makes it entirely enjoyable. Brown picks his animals carefully, offering just the right amount of detail on each animal and then moving on merrily to the next.

Brown’s illustrations contribute to some of the best humor in the book. He uses images that are similar to mug shots of the various animals to show their similarities and differences to more familiar animals. He also uses comic-like speech bubbles and frames to create silly asides that add immensely to the appeal.

A delight of a nonfiction book about animals, here’s hoping that it’s the first in a series. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.

 

Egg by Kevin Henkes

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Egg by Kevin Henkes

Henkes returns with another winner of a picture book. This time he uses a graphic novel format ideal for preschool picture book fans. The book is utter simplicity, using repetition to show each of the four eggs: one pink, one yellow, one blue and one green. At first they are whole, then three begin to crack. Soon three chicks have emerged! Still, the green egg stays whole and quiet. There is lots of waiting and the three chicks return to help the final egg start cracking open. Then they are the ones who get a surprise when the egg hatches!

Simple and completely wonderful, this picture book graphic novel is great fun to read. Children can help by repeating the phrases the right number of times along with the adult reader. There is a lovely rhythm created by the repetition, almost swinging along with the beat. The limited vocabulary is also welcome for new readers.

The art by Henkes stays simple as well. With firm lines and soft pastel colors, the book is ideal for springtime (or those of us dreaming of spring). Even the illustrations get in on the repetition, using similar panels to repeat as the different eggs wait, hatch and then wait once more.

Clever and warm, this is a very welcome addition for emergent readers and springtime story times. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.