Archive for September 12, 2017

Can an Aardvark Bark?

Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Getting to know wild animals is easier if you know how they are like you and the domesticated animals you are familiar with. In the area of sounds we make, the author first explores which animals make the noise known as a grunt, because aardvarks do not bark. Who would have thought this included aardvarks, river otters, Hamadryas baboons, white-tailed deer, and oyster toadfish? Animals that do bark include New Zealand fur seals, common barking geckos, capybaras, barking tree frogs, and woodchucks. Animals that squeal include European hedgehogs, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Abert’s towhees, margays, and you. Other sounds explored are whines, growls, bellows, and laughs.

The main text is written in simple language that can be read independently. The sidebars are also very simple, straightforward, and relatable. Kids will learn a ton and enjoy doing it.

The fun and lively illustrations bring the animals right into the reader’s world. Many of the animals discussed are unfamiliar, so the accuracy of the illustrations is important.

Recommended for classroom and home.

  • Can an Aardvark BarkTitle: Can an Aardvark Bark?
  • Author: Melissa Stewart
  • Illustrator: Steve Jenkins
  • Published: Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Nature, Animals
  • ISBN: 978-1-4814-5852-8
  • Extras: Selected Sources, For Further Reading

Claude on the Big Screen

Written and Illustrated by Alex T. Smith

Another installment in the “Claude” series sees Claude and Sir Bobblysock participating in the film industry. In a way, this story is custom made for Claude, a dog, and his sockly friend. It’s silly and imaginative and defines suspension of disbelief.

Claude attempts to keep all manner of paraphernalia in his beret, including a clothesline full of costumes. This becomes important, as the line itself keeps snaking its way out of the hat. When Claude notices a giant gorilla in a dressing gown drinking a cup of tea, he and Sir Bobbly sock feel compelled to investigate. They find a film company shooting a movie. They immediately immerse themselves in all things cinema, helping with wigs, makeup, costumes, sound, and lighting. Claude’s clothesline causes a disaster that sends the lead actors to hospital, so Claude and Sir Bobblysock also try acting.

Much of the humor is very subtle, but kids will no doubt look for the signs on the buildings (e.g., Miss Reed’s Read-A-Lot Bookshop: We like big books and we cannot lie) and names such as Waggy Avenue. Of course, some of the jokes are beyond young kids (Gloria Swoon), but they will still get that there is humor there.

There is a lot here to encourage kids to keep reading. Also, a lot of fun.

  • Claude on the Big ScreenTitle: Claude on the Big Screen
  • Author/Illustrator: Alex T. Smith
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, October 1, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 to 4
  • Genre: Humor
  • ISBN: 978-1-68263-009-9