cover image Lots of Spots

Lots of Spots

Lois Ehlert, S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0289-8

Ehlert returns to the territory of her Oodles of Animals (2008) with another illustrated collection of animal-inspired rhymes. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as not all the creatures within have spots; rather, the book focuses on how spots, stripes, and other markings either distinguish or camouflage various bugs, birds, and beasts. Befitting that agenda, Ehlert's mixed-media collages tend more toward the true animal hues found in nature than some of her previous books. The layers of handmade paper—brightly colored and often richly textured—that form each critter, crisply arranged on a white background, lend a sense of up-close immediacy. The very brief verses vacillate between silly ("If a woodpecker would peck/ holes in a wood deck,/ the whole deck, I suspect,/ would be holey-wrecked.") and matter-of-fact ("One barn owl can catch/ more mice and rats/ than a whole family/ of mouser cats."), but all the ditties offer some information about an animal's coloring or behavior. Budding naturalists and animal lovers of a broad range will surely be amused. Ages 3–7. (July)