From the ThinkCities series , Vol. 2

Everything you might never have wanted to know about water treatment and supply.

Endpapers feature a simple treatment of the water cycle, preparing readers to engage in a deep, detailed look at the way humans interact with the world’s water. “It’s easy not to think about water if you live in a city where it flows from the faucet with a mere flick of the wrist,” the introduction notes, but it’s difficult to forget water’s importance after reading these gentle, informative pages. Brusque brush strokes join muted primary colors to depict urban life in a way that is both realistic and artful. Compositions vary, almost always depicting movement while still leaving space for hefty chunks of text—no small task. Some illustrations show roughly accurate cross sections of above- and belowground environments while others combine huge close-ups with distant backgrounds in an abstract way; once or twice, proportions just seem off. Fun facts (“In every city of a million people, there’s at least $13 million worth of metal in the sewage!”) join sobering observations (“About 90 percent of the watersheds that provide water for the world’s largest cities have been polluted or degraded over the last century”). A “What can we do to help?” closing section lists suggestions for would-be water protectors; 13 are individual lifestyle changes while just two involve collective action. People appear in varied, mostly light or light-brown skin tones. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.6-by-17.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 64% of actual size.)

Educational and stylish. (glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-144-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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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

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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

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