From the Q&A series

Entertaining and modestly enlightening.

Imagined interviews with 10 wild animals reveal more than just the facts.

With the help of an ingenious invention and a large dose of imagination, Seed talks with animals from all over the world about their lives. The premise that these are his studio guests may draw readers into this mix of fact and fancy. Bengal tiger, wolf, giant anteater, honey badger, jaguar, polar bear, lion, giant armadillo, snow leopard, and three-toed sloth each take their turn to answer the usual sorts of questions, about their looks, their favorite foods and eating habits, and their families and friends, as well as some surprising ones. Much humor comes from the different personalities reflected in their replies: The wolf is ill-tempered; the snow leopard is erudite and must keep rephrasing his answers for the interviewer’s understanding; the sloth can’t stop cracking jokes. Illustrator East’s cheerful cartoon creatures add to the fun. The giant anteater poses like a media star, licking up termites with his superlong, spit-covered tongue. “I know, I’m beautiful, aren’t I?” The honey badger is impressively fierce (though, sadly, the “bees’ nest” supposedly depicted is really a wasps’ nest). The polar bear balances precariously on bits of disappearing ice. Most of these animals state that habitat-destroying humans are a major problem. This English import ends with a reminder to readers that some of these “guests” are endangered, suggesting a variety of ways to help. A final quiz will cement a few fast facts.

Entertaining and modestly enlightening. (Nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78312-647-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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