Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Poisoned Pen Press: That Night in the Library by Eva Jurczyk

From My Shelf

The Delight of Meeting Authors

Last week, more than 500 booksellers, along with publishers and authors, converged on Seattle for the American Booksellers Association's ninth annual Winter Institute--three days of seminars, socializing and shoptalk (even more energizing than Seattle's collective euphoria over the Seahawks). Adding to the excitement was the abundance of authors, numbering more than 100. Many of them were on hand Thursday evening to sign books, something I'd grown blasé about--until I walked into the hotel ballroom. I gasped, grabbed the nearest arm and exclaimed, "Look! It's Cynthia Bond!" I sidled over to her table as casually as I could, but then started to gush like a tween at a One Direction concert. Her novel Ruby (to be published by Hogarth in April), the "unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her," is one of the most stunning books I've read this year--order it now in advance from your indie bookstore.
Sitting next to her was novelist Colson Whitehead, who's written a hilarious memoir about playing in the World Series of Poker in Vegas: The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death (Doubleday, May 6)--another book to order now. I eagerly grabbed a copy of Archetype by M.D. Waters (Dutton), a SF/mystery/romance thrill-ride that I had read in one sitting; The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness (Penguin Press), a haunting, magical novel that I challenge you not to love; and one book I haven't yet read, but whose cover hooked me, as a good cover does: 'Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Holt, April 22).

While it's not possible for everyone to have such a rich, concentrated experience with authors, it is possible to have a similar one at your local independent bookstore, where everyone can enjoy talking about books, and meeting authors is the name of the game. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

The Writer's Life

Jennifer Senior: High Cost, High Reward

photo: Laura Rose

The predicament of the modern parent in middle-class America is the subject of Jennifer Senior's All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (just published by Ecco). Senior explores, through extensive research and studies of parents across the U.S., the effects of childrearing on parents' identities, marriages and sense of self-worth, from birth to adolescence. Senior is a contributing editor at New York magazine; she lives in New York with her family.

Tell us about your motivation for writing this book. You don't reveal personal details beyond that you have a son, but was there any element of a personal journey to this project?

It's a great question, and I'd love to say the answer is yes, but in fact the answer is somewhat disappointing: it was intellectual curiosity, rather than a personal crisis, that got me here. In 2006, I read Daniel Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness, which happened to mention--very casually, I should add, almost as an aside--that most studies suggest that children don't improve their parents' happiness. At the time, I didn't have a child, and all I wanted in life was a child. The idea that children compromised anyone's well-being struck me as improbable, outrageous, totally nuts. But I knew I couldn't interrogate this finding as a non-parent. It'd create a huge credibility gap between me and most readers. When I became a mother, though, I felt like I could, and I did, in a story for New York magazine. My book barely mentions those studies, of course. They're not what All Joy is about. But they did start me thinking about a much larger question, which became the premise of my book: How do children affect their moms and dads? Why are most books so preoccupied with how parents can mold and shape their kids' lives when the question is so much more interesting when asked in reverse?

This said, I should add that I'm also a stepmom, and I entered my stepkids' lives when they were both adolescents. It was then that I noticed how profoundly teenagers affect their parents--particularly their self-image. And I'd seen very, very little written about that.

Where does the title come from?

An old friend of mine used this phrase--again, almost as an aside--when he first became a dad. He described parenting as "all joy and no fun," which I think captures something essential about the day-to-day strains of parenting, but also its sublime rewards.

How many parents did you interview? How would you describe your approach to research?

In Minnesota, I collected testimony from roughly 120 parents; in Houston and the surrounding suburbs, maybe two dozen; and in New York, maybe 20 or so. (Though only a few became main characters, obviously.) One of my biggest priorities/anxieties/neuroses was finding a systematic approach to selecting parents--I didn't want it to look like I'd simply worked the phones and called all of my friends. My initial hope was to follow new parents through a university marriage lab. Man, did that turn out to be naïve. No institutional review board would ever have allowed it. Then a professor of family social science named Bill Doherty pointed out to me that Minnesota has a huge state-funded parent education program, one with so many participants that I was bound to draw a respectable, highly diverse sample of parents. And with that, I was off to the races.

One fascinating observation you make is that modern childhood was invented just 70 years ago,  which means we're still figuring out what it means to be a modern parent. How do you intend for your book to contribute to understanding this relatively new phenomenon?

First of all, by simply pointing it out. Most mothers and fathers have no idea that we're in the midst of this huge historic shift, one in which the roles of both parent and child have been completely redefined. We're still sorting them out. It's reassuring, in some ways, simply to note that we're not supposed to know, precisely, what we're doing. It was much easier when we raised our kids to be just like ourselves. Now, we raise our children for a future we can't even fathom.

I also very much want mothers and fathers to understand that the concept of making their children happy, as a goal, is brand new. It used to be that our goals for our children were that they be moral and productive--productive on the family's behalf, no less. Children weren't sentimental assets. They were economic assets. They worked. On farms. In factories. In mines and mills. During the Progressive era, we put an end to child labor, thank goodness, and gradually, we began to view our children vulnerable, precious, irreplaceable. This was a moral victory, to be sure. But what it has meant, in practical terms, is that parents now feel responsible for the emotional well-being of their children. It's pretty hard to find a modern parent who doesn't care, deeply, about their children's self-esteem. But shoring up a kid's confidence is a pretty vague goal, if you think about it. Teaching children happiness isn't like teaching them how to plow a field or do arithmetic. And kids can sense it when their parents desperately want them to be happy. It's probably not a very healthy goal for either parent or child.

Do you have any criticisms of the modern definitions of childhood and parenthood?

Well, it sort of has to do with what I said above. If we all think of childhood as this period of extreme sheltering--keeping kids packed in bubble wrap and stored away from sunlight--we're probably not doing anyone any favors. Not them, and not us.

Your New York magazine article made some women in my circle of friends--newly married, late 20s--reconsider having children. In contrast, the book ends on a very child-positive note.

You know what's strange? My New York story ended on a very child-positive note, too. (A very child-positive section, in fact. An aria, almost.) I know that I haven't ever had a change of heart on this subject: I've always considered kids "high cost, high reward," as Bill Doherty likes to say. At the end of my magazine story, I talked about transcendence and meaning; I do the same thing in my book. It may be that the ending of my book makes more of an impression simply because it focuses on the extraordinary story of one woman, Sharon, who's raising her grandson because his mother, her youngest daughter, has died. Through her story, you get to see what having children means in the context of a whole life.

That feminism has produced a backlash against women working outside the home--pressuring them to be stay-at-home moms--makes it seem as if we are very far from achieving true equality for women.

I'm not sure that we've seen more pressure on women to be stay-at-home moms, per se. But women are definitely experiencing more pressure to spend loads of intensive parenting hours with their children--far more than their own mothers did--and yes, that does seem worrying, especially when you consider that most children don't pine for extra time with their mothers at all.

What is your next project?

Resting. Getting in shape. Becoming a better cook. Spending more time with my kid. Having just one job (during the final year, I was revising my book and holding down my day job at New York.) And then, maybe, writing another book, on a subject that isn't fully enough formed for me to discuss just yet. --Ilana Teitelbaum, book reviewer and author

Book Candy

Polar Vortex Reading; Advantages of Being a Book Lover

Polar Vortex reading list, with accompaniment. Flavorwire recommended "10 cold weather book and music pairings for deep thinkers."


Road trip! Mental Floss suggested you "book your trip now: 12 literary pilgrimages."


"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." Buzzfeed featured a quiz testing your ability to "guess the classic novel from its first sentence."


Ann Cleeves, author most recently of Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope series), looked "beyond Scandinavia" to pick her "top 10 crime novels in translation" for the Guardian.


The Huffington Post revealed "16 major advantages of being a book lover," including: "You have read so many books that you're able to endow your own life with excitement and drama."

Book Review


The Crane Wife

by Patrick Ness

Affability has long been George Duncan's undoing. At 48, the hero of Patrick Ness's quiet miracle of a novel has learned to lower his expectations. His solitude is punctuated by undemanding days at his print shop and by visits from his fiery daughter, Amanda, and four-year-old grandson. But George knows that he needs something more; he needs to offer something more to the world. As for love, women can't see him as more than a friend.

This, though, is the daytime George. When we first meet him, it is the dead of night. Awakened by an uncanny, desperate cry, he finds a giant white crane in his garden. The odds of such a visitation in suburban London: nonexistent. But when George accepts that he's not dreaming, he realizes that the bird is dreadfully injured, one wing shot through with an arrow, and now close to death.

As in the Japanese folktale that inspired Ness's novel, to reveal that the man at last manages to remove the weapon is not a spoiler. This is the beginning, not the end, of George's odyssey--and the crane's, who will reappear in human guise as an artist named Kumiko.

Ness has a playwright's flair for witty repartee and the gift of letting us inside his characters, where we follow them with sympathy and clarity. A very modern fable about making sense of the world and the stories we tell ourselves, his artful exploration of generosity and greed, creation and destruction, dreams and practical magic will leave you transported by what W.B. Yeats called tragic joy. --Kerry Fried

Discover: A lyrical retelling of the Japanese crane wife fable, by a master of heightened moments, freighted silences, wit and profound understanding of matters of the heart.

Penguin Press, $26.95, hardcover, 9781594205477

Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China

by Yu Hua, trans. by Allan H. Barr

Yu Hua established a reputation as one of China's preeminent writers with To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, two novels that detail the stark and depressive landscape brought about by the Cultural Revolution. Yu's interest with the cruel circumstances of life continues with a series of short vignettes collected in Boy in the Twilight. Here, he hones his recognizable minimalist craft to comic and tragic perfection, suffusing these brutally honest, philosophical pieces with compassion and cruel twists of sucker-punching irony that take the reader's breath away.

In the titular "Boy in the Twilight," Yu pits a child thief against a hardened, middle-aged fruit stand owner in an eye-for-an-eye melodrama that unfolds in gut-wrenching misery. In "Appendix," a surgeon father tells tall tales about a doctor's skilled exploits only to find himself at great peril when he experiences the event himself and his sons expect a self-fulfilling prophecy to materialize. History repeats itself in the multi-generational drama "Timid as a Mouse," which highlights the personal violence that ensues in light of a father-son pair's non-confrontational stance.

These are everyday stories about ordinary men and women that undulate with peaks of ecstatic highs and plunge to mind-numbing lows just as the desired happy ending appears over the horizon--familiar terrain for Yu Hua, who has made a career out of the exploiting the vagaries of China's past. Yet there's an underlying, wistful hope that these individuals can evolve beyond the shadow of their cultural ghosts. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: These philosophical vignettes from an award-winning writer underscore the cruel ironies of modern Chinese life.

Pantheon, $24, hardcover, 9780307379368

A Well-Tempered Heart

by Jan-Philipp Sendker, trans. by Kevin Wiliarty

Jan Philipp-Sendker's debut novel, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, introduced readers to Julia, a young woman who travels to Burma to try to find her missing father. A Well-Tempered Heart takes Julia back to Burma nearly a decade later. This time, however, she is searching not for a missing person, but a better understanding of herself--and the woman's voice she has mysteriously started to hear in her head.

Thinking she is going insane, Julia revisits Burma as a last resort, hoping to spend time with her half-brother and clear her head. The voice warns her against the journey, fearing the secrets it may uncover. And uncover secrets it does, as Julia and her brother look not only to identify the woman speaking to Julia, but understand why she lingers in Julia's mind. Along the way, they learn of Burma's violent past, rife with civil wars and wounds that have not yet healed in the hearts of the Burmese people.

What sounds fantastical in our description is accepted with no raised eyebrows in Philipp-Sendker's Burma, where portents and signs are accepted as truth. In this world, so very different from the fast-paced Manhattan to which she is accustomed, Julia learns not only about the woman speaking to her, but about the power of intuition,  forgiveness and love--as well as second chances. What begins as a problem-solving quest becomes a journey of self-discovery, sure to resonate with anyone who has ever sought to reinvent oneself. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: The sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats takes Julia back to Burma, where she seeks to understand the past of a woman she has never met.

Other Press, $15.95, paperback, 9781590516409

Marry Me

by Dan Rhodes

Individually, the stories in Dan Rhodes's Marry Me tell of singular events related to marriage. In "Friends," a wife leaves her husband but asks to remain friends. "Carbon" is a proposal story, in which a man, unable to afford a diamond, substitutes a piece of carbon. Weddings form the center of "Goethe," in which a young woman mocks the absurdity of over-the-top weddings until she finds herself planning one of her own.

There are more than 75 stories in Rhodes's slim collection; the longest is three pages, the shortest even shorter than this review, but to assume the brevity of these tales limits their ability to convey big ideas about the institution of marriage is to fail to appreciate Rhodes's skill with flash fiction. The short form allows Rhodes to jump around, first to a marriage dissolving, then to a union forming, to a couple resigning themselves to each other, to a proposal refused. Though strange at first--it is nearly impossible to commit to any one character in less than a page--the clipped rhythm ultimately works, as the stories move from poignant to pathetic to humorous and back again, never letting the reader know what to expect next. On their own, each story is an interesting glimpse into a particular situation in a particular relationship; combined, the tales form a prism of the complicated, messy, hilarious, pathetic, wonderful, awful thing that is marriage. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A collection of startlingly short fiction on the subject of marriage, at once heartfelt and hilarious.

Europa, $12, paperback, 9781609451813

Mystery & Thriller


by Christopher Golden

Coventry, Mass., was expecting a snowstorm, but nothing like the one that blows through the opening pages of Christopher Golden's Snowblind. The novel begins with small-town residents managing their relationships, jobs and businesses, readying for the possibility of power outages and blocked roads. Just as readers are drawn into the lives of the diverse sympathetic characters, though, they're ripped away from us--and something more terrifying (and more cognizant) than ice and wind is involved.

Fast forward a dozen years. The survivors of the first storm--men and women still mourning their loved ones--are faced with a disturbingly similar weather pattern headed their way. Coventry is still haunted by the unexplained deaths, and now the lost townspeople are coming back to try to warn the survivors of the returning danger. Families will have to pull together quickly to avoid a second tragedy.

A fast-paced, thoroughly engrossing supernatural thriller, Snowblind employs likable, multifaceted characters linked by their small-town connections and a tragic past. Golden's writing is suspenseful and action-driven; it's not ornate, but he still takes time to develop stories about characters' relationships and backgrounds that will engage readers. The terror evoked is visceral and real and, along with a fairy-tale element and realistic backdrop, grips readers from the very first pages. Snowblind is a tale of trauma, individual responsibility and, ultimately, redemption. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: A full-throttle paranormal thriller starring a variety of complex, likable characters.

St. Martin's Press, $25.99, hardcover, 9781250015310

Before We Met

by Lucie Whitehouse

Hannah Reilly, the middle-aged British protagonist of Lucie Whitehouse's Before We Met, has enjoyed an idyllic eight-month marriage--until Mark doesn't return from a business trip in New York City on his scheduled flight. He turns up days later, and his plausible, yet rather questionable excuses plant a seed of suspicion in Hannah, who grew up with a cheating father and a chronically skeptical mother. She tries to convince herself that she has no real reason to doubt Mark, but his whereabouts in New York City cannot be confirmed, nor can his coworkers corroborate his story.

Hannah stitches together other unexpected revelations--Mark's contact with a mysterious woman doctor, funds withdrawn from Hannah's bank account and the return of Mark's long-lost brother. At every turn, Mark seems to have answers to explain everything, but can Hannah believe them?

Doubts, secrets and lies drive the engrossing suspense, as Whitehouse (The Bed I Made) effectively employs flashbacks to examine the before and after of Hannah and Mark--their single lives, their working lives, the influences of their dysfunctional families and the life they created together. This well-written and well-plotted psychological thriller peels back layers of information, with deepening implications that will keep readers guessing through chilling twists and turns. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Discover: A seemingly happy marriage is suddenly challenged by secrets and lies in this well-written psychological thriller from Britain.

Bloomsbury, $25, hardcover, 9781620402757

Science Fiction & Fantasy


by Scott Sigler

An extraterrestrial threat has been found deep in the waters of Lake Michigan in the form of highly contagious microscopic organisms designed to turn humans into one of three forms: infectious Puffballs, über-intelligent Leaders or hulking masses of muscle and bone assembled from multiple bodies. The horrific science fiction story Scott Sigler began in Infected and Contagious continues in Pandemic. Dr. Margaret Montoya saved the world from the alien threat once before, but will she live long enough to do it again?

This time around, Montoya, her soon-to-be ex-husband, Clarence Otto, and quirky ladies' man Dr. Tim Feely are dispatched underneath the great lake to find a cure for the deadly disease, which is rapidly spreading across the globe. Against the otherworldly threat, they're armed with only the scientific process--and a team of Navy SEALs.

Sigler writes on a grand scale, but never forgets the human story, drawing realistic, believable characters with strengths and weaknesses. Pandemic works for readers of the first two books as well as those coming to the story cold. It's a grisly, intense tale of how fragile we are in the face of an infectious disease. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: A horrifying narrative of the end of our species, replete with zombies, aliens and gore.

Crown, $26, hardcover, 9780307408976

Biography & Memoir

Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything

by Amanda Gefter

As a bored, rebellious teenager, Amanda Gefter never dreamed she'd build a career by pestering physicists with questions about the nature of reality. But after a conversation over Chinese food about the origins of the universe, Amanda and her father began spending all their spare time reading about physics and cosmology. By the time the two of them snuck into a symposium at Princeton, she had given herself a crash course in theoretical physics and was determined to discover the ingredients of ultimate (irreducible, invariant) reality.

Amanda pulls readers along on her journey from aimless humanities student to fake-it-till-you-make-it science writer. With insatiable intellectual curiosity and nothing-to-lose chutzpah, she tracks down the world's leading scientific minds to pepper them with questions about the universe. As Amanda continues her search, her father serves as a true partner, firing off e-mails and answering his daughter's late-night phone calls with unflagging enthusiasm for the quest.

From a rat-infested London flat (where Amanda wonders if she can reason said rats out of existence) to the archives of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn crisscrosses the Atlantic--and the universe--in pursuit of answers. Along the way, readers get a refresher course in general relativity, string theory and other cosmological ideas, plus a heartfelt portrait of a special father-daughter bond.

Fresh, funny and erudite, Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn is a highly entertaining examination of the big questions at the center of life, the universe and everything. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at and Cakes, Tea Dreams

Discover: A fresh, funny, erudite memoir of a father and daughter's quest to understand the nature of ultimate reality.

Bantam, $28, hardcover, 9780345531438


Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby

by Sarah Churchwell

Sarah Churchwell (The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe) takes on F. Scott Fitzgerald's mythically proportioned masterpiece in Careless People, an expansive study of biography, history, literary criticism and cultural connections. Her inquiries focus on a double-murder involving a socially ambitious lower-class woman and a respected rector, both married but not to each other, found shot to death in each other's arms. The case captured national attention in 1922, the year Scott and Zelda returned to New York--and the year in which The Great Gatsby is set.

With an appealing, freshly curious manner, original research and newly discovered resources, Churchwell explores the possible connections between Fitzgerald's experiences in 1922 and what happened at the same time in his most highly regarded novel. She also compares the plot of The Great Gatsby to the real-world action of 1922. In the book, which alternates between the Fitzgeralds' lives during the period The Great Gatsby came to life with the unfolding of media coverage of the murder case, Churchwell incorporates Fitzgerald's correspondence, including delightful poems exchanged with Ring Lardner, and lists of slang (including some 70 ways to say "drunk").

With elements of fun and tragedy--like the lives of its subjects--Churchwell's study of the Fitzgeralds, The Great Gatsby and the world that birthed it presents new perspectives on a literary icon. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: New research and new angles on The Great Gatsby and its place in history.

Penguin Press, $29.95, hardcover, 9781594204746


Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics and Promise of Seeds

by Scott Chaskey

Gardeners will find plenty to pore over in Scott Chaskey's Seedtime, a wide-ranging, multidisciplinary look at the humble seed. Chaskey moves deftly from Watson and Crick's discovery of DNA's double helix and the idea that every seed "contains a story" to the first global seed bank, established in Norway in 2008. (The idea of a "Doomsday vault" to protect the earth's plant life against human-generated disasters is a relatively recent one--but, as one scientist notes, "because extinction is forever, conservation must be forever.")

Not all of our eggs are in the basket of science, though. Chaskey also discusses artists working on innovative ideas to promote and preserve seed integrity. Basia Irland, for example, carves ice "books" with seeds lodged in the ice as a "text." As the books travel down streams and rivers, they melt, releasing their seeds into the shores and the riverbanks; the absorbed seeds slow erosion as they build up the riverbank soil.

Chaskey's passion for the soil and seeds shines throughout Seedtime, which draws as much on his experience working to preserve soil integrity while operating a farm with more than 500 varieties of plant life as his work as a poet--at its best, channeling the agrarian voice of Wendell Berry. --Matthew Tiffany, counselor, writer for Condalmo

Discover: A wide-ranging exploration of everything seed.

Rodale, $23.99, hardcover, 9781609615031

Children's & Young Adult

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

by Steve Sheinkin

While researching his award-winning Bomb, Steve Sheinkin came across a little-known incident that exemplified the racism ingrained in the U.S. military at the beginning of World War II. Sheinkin pulls in readers by writing about the 17- and 18-year-old African American sailors involved, largely in their own words.

The young people begin with a common eagerness to serve in the Navy after Pearl Harbor. But that quickly dissipates when they discover the depths of segregation at the U.S. Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Ill., then realize upon arrival at Port Chicago, Calif., that they would not serve at sea. Instead, they were ordered to load ammunition onto ships. All of the men handling explosives were black, all of their officers were white, and the sailors received no training. Conditions worsened when Captain Kinne took over the base in April 1944 and began rewarding the division that moved the highest daily tonnage. On July 17, at 10:18 p.m., a terrible explosion killed 320 men and injured even more. Mere weeks later, when the survivors were ordered to resume work, they refused, and were threatened with court martial. All but 50 returned to work. Those 50 were put on trial for mutiny. Even Thurgood Marshall, then lead attorney for the NAACP, couldn't sway the jury's decision. However, the nation's reaction persuaded the Navy to reconsider its segregation policy.

Sheinkin's storytelling skill, along with the transparency of his research, generous archival photographs and meticulous back matter, result in a seamless, suspenseful narrative that will engage readers young and old alike. --Angela Carstensen, school librarian and blogger

Discover: The shocking World War II incident that led to long-overdue reforms for blacks in the military.

Roaring Brook/Macmillan, $19.99, hardcover, 208p., ages 10-14, 9781596437968

A Book of Babies

by Il Sung Na

The creator of A Book of Sleep introduces youngest book lovers to nine different animals in spring, "when the flowers begin to bloom and the world starts turning green"--on their very first day.

The illustrations, with bark, twigs and ferns that look textured enough for little fingers to touch, hint at whimsy. Multicolored leaves, light spiral patterns in the grass and sky, and kaleidoscopic scales on fish will pique children's interest as the author-artist lays out the facts. "Noisy ducklings" take the spotlight. One makes eye contact with a school of fish ("Some have lots of brothers and sisters"); another observes a monkey family ("Some have none at all"). Mothers and fathers both get mentions ("Some are carried in their mommy's pouch./ Some are carried in their daddy's pouch!"), and everyone needs a rest at day's end. Littlest ones will delight in searching for the duckling on every page.

Pair this with My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page for children who want more scientific details to appreciate fully the animals in these gorgeously fanciful compositions, comprised of handmade textures, and layered in digitally. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A guide to nature's babies for littlest book lovers, with illustrations that add a touch of whimsy.

Knopf, $15.99, hardcover, 24p., ages 2-4, 9780385752909

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