Book Review: Armadillo Antics by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson

Join the Armadillo on His Nightly Romp!

Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson may be one of the most notable author teams in children’s literature. With a number of bestselling household favorites including Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Martin Jr and Sampson have continually made it their mission to
inspire children’s literacy. Armadillo Antics (Brown Books Kids; On sale: April 26, 2022) is written and illustrated in the same harmonizing cadence that readers have come to know and love from the Martin Jr and Sampson team.

When Bill Martin Jr moved to Texas, he lived 100 yards apart from his best friend and co-author, Michael Sampson. They wrote Armadillo Antics “in honor of the fun, inquisitive creatures that roamed the woods” outside their houses. When Martin Jr passed, he left a small number of unpublished children’s books behind that he’d worked on with Michael Sampson. Armadillo Antics is one of these invaluable remaining works and holds special significance to the author duo’s ties to the lone star state. Michael Sampson is a born-and-raised Texan, and Bill Martin Jr decided to make his final roots there. The armadillo is the state animal of Texas, and, thus, makes the perfect tribute to their nostalgic collection of works.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

What a fun book to read to young children! The rhythm and rhyme of the text is perfect. The illustrations of the armadillos are comical. They’re bright and much more colorful than actual armadillos, but they’re fun and great for this book.

The last page of Armadillo Antics contains information about armadillos, and it is presented well. I didn’t realize that they are nocturnal because we had one visit our backyard during the day several times one year. He must have been confused!

This is definitely a book that needs to be in a child’s library along with the author’s other children’s books.

About the Authors

BILL MARTIN JR was the beloved author of more than 300 books for children and teachers, including the classics Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? which was illustrated by his friend Eric Carle, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Bill was elected to the Reading Hall of Fame by the International Literacy Association. The Bill Martin, Jr Picture Book Award, which is the Kansas State award for best children’s picture book, was established in his name in 1996. Bill wrote Armadillo Antics with Michael Sampson when he moved to Texas, in honor of the fun, inquisitive creatures that roamed the woods outside his house. Visit Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s website at billmartinjr.com.

MICHAEL SAMPSON taught kindergarten through fourth grade before meeting fellow literacy expert Bill Martin Jr at a conference in Tucson, Arizona in 1978. They established a lifelong friendship and collaborated on many bestselling and award-winning books for children, including Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Sampson often speaks at schools, book festivals, and literacy conferences, where he is known for his high-energy, entertaining performances. Dr. Sampson is a Fulbright Scholar and a professor of literacy at St. John’s University in New York City. Visit Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s website at billmartinjr.com. You can also follow Michael on Twitter and Instagram @michaelsampson.

About the Illustrator

NATHALIE BEAUVOIS has a graphic design background in advertising and has also studied industrial design. Nathalie started her career in the art departments of ad agencies and eventually transitioned into freelance illustrating. Since then, she has illustrated dozens of books and hundreds of magazines in countries all over the world. Her creations always start the traditional way — with paper and pencil. Depending on the visual task at hand, she mixes in techniques such as watercolor, collage, vector drawing and Photoshop coloring and texturizing. When not playing with the antics of armadillos, she is happily living and working in Argentina with her family. Visit her website at nathaliebeauvois.weebly.com. You can also find her on Instagram @tanebeauvois_illustrations