44 Booklist April 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
guide) and English. Different types of yoga-styled classes are described, and the book’s
sturdy cover and the pages’ background
whorl designs and appealingly calming pastel
colors complement the text. A well-designed
introduction for any young person interested
in learning about yoga. —Sharon Rawlins
The ABCs of Yoga for Kids around the
By Teresa Anne Power. Illus. by
Apr. 2017. 36p. Stafford, $22.95 (9780982258781).
613.7. PreS–Gr. 1.
This ABC picture book introduces yoga
poses by linking them to specific countries.
Starting with Australia and then moving through Brazil, Kenya, and Zimbabwe
(Xi’an, the ancient Chinese capital, stands
in for X), each page provides a greeting in
an appropriate language plus a few localized
facts that loosely connect to a specific yoga
stance. Colorful illustrations of children
model poses, and first-person rhymes beginning with “I am . . . ” describe correct posture
and breathing. The letter I bids us Namaste!
from India, where the peacock is the national
bird; a young boy models the peacock pose
by sitting with his back straight, his legs
spread apart as far as they can comfortably
go, feeling the stretch from head to toe.
Whether a cobra from Thailand or a waterfall from Zimbabwe, the movements are fun
and easy to emulate. The familiar ABC pattern is nonthreatening and should help get
kids moving while they gain basic familiarity
with yoga. This engaging choice is meant for
sharing, especially during family storytime.
The Big Book of Beasts.
By Yuval Zommer and Barbara Taylor.
Illus. by Yuval Zommer.
Apr. 2017. 64p. Thames & Hudson, $19.95
(9780500651063). 590. K–Gr. 3.
For the purposes of this bright, oversize
book, a beast is defined as a wild mammal
that is both deadly and cunning. Yet with
vivid watercolor illustrations and fascinating
trivia, Zommer manages to render these fearsome animals as endearing rather than scary.
An introduction explains basic characteristics of the main taxonomic families included,
such as ungulates, primates, and marsupials.
Each beast is described in a two-page spread
that opens with a question that activates
readers’ prior knowledge and provides talk-
ing points about the beast’s behaviors, diet,
special adaptations, and habitat. Animals
from around the globe are included and
cover familiar species as well as the more ob-
scure. A section in the conclusion discusses
beasts that are extinct and those that are cur-
rently endangered. Zommer’s illustrations
are so detailed that children will discover
something new with each look. In fact, a “did
you find?” list offers a scavenger hunt invit-
ing readers to examine each spread carefully.
Animal lovers will not be disappointed with
the quality of facts and the fun presentation.
Can an Aardvark Bark?
By Melissa Stewart. Illus. by Steve
June 2017. 32p. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $17.99
(9781481458528); e-book, $17.99 (9781481458535).
591.59. PreS–Gr. 3.
Using a question-and-answer format that
employs internal rhymes, Stewart and Jenkins
enlighten readers about animal utterances. “Can
an aardvark bark? No, but it can grunt,”
Stewart informs us. She follows up with a
paragraph of supplementary aardvark facts
and an additional spread itemizing other
grunting animals. Most subsequent Q&As
reference previous questions (“Can a seal
squeal? No, but it can bark”), excepting the
answer for porcupines, who can indeed whine.
Jenkins’ signature cut-and-torn-paper-collage
illustrations seem to jump off the page. They
are at once boldly simple (set against white
backgrounds) and amazingly detailed (a result of the varied textures used). Multiple
type sizes add to the book’s versatility. Toddlers will enjoy the large-print Q&As, while
older children will appreciate the informative paragraphs presented in smaller font.
And while there’s much to be gleaned about
familiar and esoteric species (who knew a
giraffe could bellow?), the final spread, encouraging listeners to let loose their own
laughs, grunts, bellows, and growls, provides
the perfect excuse for toddler participation.
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer
By Laurie Wallmark. Illus. by Katy Wu.
May 2017. 48p. Sterling, $16.95 (9781454920007).
359.0092. K–Gr. 3.
Wallmark, who wrote Ada Byron Lovelace
and the Thinking Machine (2015), now introduces a twentieth-century woman who
contributed significantly to the history of
computer programming. Grace Hopper
grew up in a family that encouraged her
childhood interests in math, science, and
tinkering. Working for the U.S. Navy for
many years, beginning during WWII, she
was known for her intelligence, outside-the-box thinking, and sense of humor. Her
most notable achievement was the creation
of the first compiler, making it possible to
use a word-based program that increased efficiency and led to other computer languages.
It’s hard to say what primary-grade kids will
make of Hopper’s technological accomplishments, but this picture book goes a long way
toward showing that she was a lively, curious, diligent person who developed original
ideas and knew how to get things done.
Well-chosen anecdotes and quotes offer a
sense of her personality, while Wu’s digital
illustrations feature rich colors, strong struc-
ture, and unexpected but accurate details,
such as the Jolly Roger flag above Hopper’s
desk. An inviting picture-book biography.
Shell, Beak, Tusk: Shared Traits and the
Wonders of Adaptation.
By Bridget Heos.
Apr. 2017. 32p. illus. HMH, $16.99 (9780544811669).
576.8. K–Gr. 3.
In this informative introduction to the
curiosities of convergent evolution—when
animals adapt “the same traits separately”—
Heos showcases the shared shells, spines,
tongues, and tusks of unrelated animals
worldwide. After an opening overview of
adaptive traits, Heos presents adaptations
of 10 discrete duos in a series of two-page
spreads. Leading with spines, the “spiky defense system” of both porcupines (rodents)
and echidnas (monotremes native to Australia), Heos details the development of wings
in birds (direct descendants of dinosaurs) and
bats (mammals), the luring lights of fireflies
and anglerfish, and the bills and webbed feet
of ducks and platypuses. The accessible text,
peppered with engaging appeals to readers—
for example, our ears, like a bat’s wings, are
made of cartilage—and fun facts aplenty,
is further enhanced by glossy, brightly colored pages and up-close photos of discussed
animals. With a concluding rundown of
the persistence of repeated traits, a bibliography, and an index, this fine first glimpse
at evolution is sure to spark the interest and
imaginations of little ones far and wide.
Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants.
By Sandra Markle. Illus. by Fabricio
Apr. 2017. 32p. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580896344).
599.67. PreS–Gr. 2.
Markle connects her young readers with
a believable animal adventure in this lively
story of elephant migration. Little Calf
holds tight to his mother’s tail. The two follow Grandma, whose trunk is held high in
the air—a sign that she smells water in the
distance. Several dry days mean fewer watering holes, but “Grandma’s thirst stirs a
memory of a dry time long ago, when she
was a baby like Little Calf. She remembers
another watering hole and sets off to find it.”
After many miles and days of travel, Grandma trumpets for the herd and leads them to
water. Based on a remarkable story of Big
Mama and how she saved her herd during
the 1994 drought in Tarangire National
Park, Markle’s rich narrative descriptions
pair beautifully with VandenBroeck’s bright,
earth-toned savanna scenes, which include
aqueous watercolor backgrounds echoing
the story’s emphasis on the importance of
water. Inspired by the actions of a real elephant matriarch in Tanzania, this engaging
nonfiction picture book is bolstered by additional facts and resources for inquisitive
youngsters. —Anita Lock