cover image Somewhere Today

Somewhere Today

Bert Kitchen. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-074-1

The conspicuous artistry evidenced in such works of Kitchen's as Animal Alphabet and Gorilla Chinchilla are readily apparent here, though without this author-illustrator's customary creative flair. In 12 spreads, creatures ranging from the relatively familiar (rattlesnake, sea otter) to the more exotic (western grebe, archerfish) are characterized in a sort of scattershot Wild Kingdom. The paintings once again demonstrate Kitchen's mastery of true-to-life animal portraiture--the fetching sea otter basks in a rock-edged sea of luminous gray; two courting bald eagles, locked in ``a spectacular display of aerial acrobatics,'' appear frozen against a distant mountain range. Perhaps because of this book's serious purpose, however, Kitchen's light touch (frequent drollery, in fact) is absent. The myriad facts, though often engrossing, are presented in rather dry, textbook-like fashion, while the eponymous linkage (each textual section notes that the creature is engaging in typical behavior ``somewhere today'') is a somewhat tenuous device. Informative but disappointing. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)