A marvelous combination of scientific inquiry and wonder.

Something amazing might be found on a mountain walk.

The first pages traverse a landscape of meadows, farms, forests, hills, and a rocky mountain, then focus on a pair of hikers, one taller, with pale skin and straight, black hair, and the other shorter, with brown skin and a knit cap, at the top. Nogués’ gently humorous storytelling voice encourages observers to think about fossils in seemingly ordinary gravel, soil, and strata. The large trim size gives space for Lora’s edge-to-edge painting of rocks, flora, and fauna in greens, grays, and browns. Interspersed pages catalog geologic eras, marine creatures whose fossils can be found in mountain strata, and a look at the slow collision of land masses to form mountains. The conversational narrative, translated from the Spanish, has a simplicity and gentle pacing that build to demonstrate how ideas and discoveries in geology—including the presence of oyster fossils on high ground, the layering of the fossil record, and plate tectonics—fit together to explain the results of eons of geologic time. The sense that the history of the world can be seen in the present is nicely conveyed by the illustrations: A dinosaur appears in a mountain lake, tall ferns sprout from the meadow, the hikers dive under the sea. A glossary interprets seven terms used in geology.

A marvelous combination of scientific inquiry and wonder. (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5569-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


A gleeful game for budding naturalists.

Artfully cropped animal portraits challenge viewers to guess which end they’re seeing.

In what will be a crowd-pleasing and inevitably raucous guessing game, a series of close-up stock photos invite children to call out one of the titular alternatives. A page turn reveals answers and basic facts about each creature backed up by more of the latter in a closing map and table. Some of the posers, like the tail of an okapi or the nose on a proboscis monkey, are easy enough to guess—but the moist nose on a star-nosed mole really does look like an anus, and the false “eyes” on the hind ends of a Cuyaba dwarf frog and a Promethea moth caterpillar will fool many. Better yet, Lavelle saves a kicker for the finale with a glimpse of a small parasitical pearlfish peeking out of a sea cucumber’s rear so that the answer is actually face and butt. “Animal identification can be tricky!” she concludes, noting that many of the features here function as defenses against attack: “In the animal world, sometimes your butt will save your face and your face just might save your butt!” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleeful game for budding naturalists. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781728271170

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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