Gecko by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Candlewick Press, 9780763698850, 2019
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Absolutely stunning artwork combines facts about geckos with an exciting story about a day in the life of one little reptile. Bold, realistic watercolor and ink paintings follow Gecko as he wakes up, finds food, escapes predators and protects his territory. I loved the combination of the slightly gross (he eats his own tail after it comes off in a scuffle!) with the mundane (his diet, senses, physiology…) Two different fonts make it easy to distinguish between story and science content and an index sends readers back to find information about keywords (predators, camouflage, cold-blooded, for example.) Huber carefully constructs the narrative so that answers emerge organically from the text just as they start to nag at the reader. The cover art is especially eye-popping, with Gecko hanging upside down from the title.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No. It’s absolutely perfect.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recalls kid and librarian favorite Steve Jenkins. Also great for teaching students to distinguish between fiction (Gecko’s day in the forest) and nonfiction (factoids about geckos.)
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction: 597.952
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: January 16, 2019
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