Uneven artwork aside, this exploration of water’s vital presence in an arid environment is sure to please.


From the Imagine This! series

If you’re thirsty in the middle of the Southwestern desert and you have claws, feathers, or fur, where do you go?

To a welcome water-filled depression worn into bedrock: the tinaja. As soon as the desert begins to cool with the setting of the scorching sun, sounds of rustling signal the stirring of creatures making their ways among the growing shadows. Timid quails, grunting javelinas, cautious mule deer, yipping coyotes, jackrabbits, foxes, bats, and rattlesnakes—each takes a turn for a drink, always watching for a dreaded hawk or prowling cougar. As the sun rises, heating the land, the animals shelter in the shade and wait for the evening once again. Bissonette’s poetic narrative, sprinkled with alliteration, leads readers seamlessly from one desert denizen to another. “A mountain lion approaches….It circles the tinaja with a slow sort of swagger.” Clarifying information bites regarding each featured element or animal accompanies the text. Inexplicably, the pronunciation of tinaja, a Spanish word, is not included anywhere. Weiler wraps the cooling landscape in purples, oranges, and blues. However, some depictions of the desert dwellers are inaccurate. The mountain lion resembles a domestic cat, and the javelinas are depicted with fur instead of bristles; others, such as the ringtail cat and foxes, are spot-on.

Uneven artwork aside, this exploration of water’s vital presence in an arid environment is sure to please. (author's note, bibliograrphy) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-8075-7949-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet