Discover an international bevy of animals.
The story opens with a young red-haired White girl in a rural setting learning about animals from an atlas. As she reads, the girl imagines herself in a variety of faraway places interacting with their indigenous species, continent by continent. The concept is enjoyable, but the execution quickly palls. The text is written in a belabored abab rhyme scheme that struggles for rhyme and misses scansion: In Europe, readers learn, “There’s a tall brown bear, lounging to rest, / moose with giant antlers on their heads, / lynx and badgers that wander the forest, / and reindeer that pull Santa’s sled.” The bland watercolor illustrations don’t fare much better. Although they are bright and engaging, in many instances they do not correspond to the text. For example, while the girl is reading about the animals of Europe, the narration describes a “nattering fox that wants to talk,” yet the two foxes on the page are pictured curled up asleep in a tree. Later, in Asia, the text states, “tapirs and langurs nap in a daze,” yet the animals are pictured awake, eating, and alert. These dissonances repeat throughout the text. There is no backmatter to support facts stated or lead readers to further (better) information. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.3-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)
No need to make room on the animal shelf for this one.
(Picture book. 6-8)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 28
Publisher: Little Steps/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020