Broad of scope but parochially Eurocentric in style and vision.

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A WORLD FULL OF ANIMAL STORIES

A cornucopia of retold myths and fables gathered from every inhabited continent.

With quaint disregard for rigorous authenticity, McAllister draws largely on old public-domain sources written for general audiences (most of which she helpfully cites at the end) for these 50 tales, tones down overtly violent incidents, and delivers animal-centered episodes that are stylistically similar no matter their (purported) ethnic or regional origins. Looking a bit crammed-in thanks to small type and narrow line spacing, the one- to four-page entries mix familiar stories such as “The Three Little Pigs” (featuring a brick-laying sow named Curly and a wolf who runs away singed but alive) and “The Elephant and the Blind Men” with some semifamiliar entries like “The Bear Prince”—ascribed to “Mexico” but actually reading like a version of the European “Bearskin” with a coyote shoehorned in—and a variety of lower-profile trickster and pourquoi tales. These include why cheetahs have tear tracks beneath their eyes, why pandas are black and white, why warthogs are ugly, and why bears have stumpy tails. In flat, folk-art–style compositions the Romanian-born illustrator scatters a broad variety of small realistic or anthropomorphic animals over stylized landscapes and interior scenes with human figures that are diverse of skin color and facial features but clad in likewise stylized generic national dress.

Broad of scope but parochially Eurocentric in style and vision. (Folk tales. 9-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78603-045-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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Laika’s tragic fate notwithstanding, a generally triumphant tally of liftoffs, landings, and scientific insights.

50 ANIMALS THAT HAVE BEEN TO SPACE

From the Beginner's Guide to Space series

Two Canadian authors take an unusual angle on an international history of space travel.

What may stick with readers south of the border—aside from a jaundiced view of two Cold War powers “racing to get the first soldiers into space” and using animals in “sacrificial” roles to advance that agenda—is the sheer variety of animal astronauts. Following nods to the Montgolfier brothers and other pioneers, the authors go on in one- or two-page entries to chronicle purposes, courses, and outcomes for 50 missions, mostly from the space programs’ earlier days, in which monkeys and chimps flew for the U.S., Laika and other dogs for the USSR, cats (inexplicably) for France, and later on a great range of birds, bugs, fish, spiders, “ant-stronauts,” mice, and more…with and without human accompaniment. Most actually survived their journeys, even a pair of steppe tortoises looped around the moon and Enos (a chimp who, no doubt to the envy of many fellow astronauts, got away with throwing feces at a visiting politician because “he was a hotshot and good at his job”), whose 1961 Mercury capsule suffered multiple failures in orbit. Each visually crowded entry squeezes in a boxed mission profile and one or, usually, more period photos. Resource lists at the end supplement frequent leads throughout to online research reports or videos. Human figures are, with rare exceptions, white.

Laika’s tragic fate notwithstanding, a generally triumphant tally of liftoffs, landings, and scientific insights. (glossary, websites) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4595-0602-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Formac

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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An updated and more melodramatically titled version of a 1994 title, it sounds warnings that have grown all the more...

THE SECRETS OF THE POLAR REGIONS

LIFE ON ICEBERGS AND GLACIERS AT THE POLES AND AROUND THE WORLD

From the Jean-Michel Cousteau Presents series

Bright, sharp nature photos and a special focus on ice-based ecosystems set this survey apart from the usual run of assignment titles on glaciers and the polar regions.

Returning continually to the dangerous effects of global warming, the authors describe changes in climate conditions at both poles and explain how those changes affect glaciers and icebergs. Wilson and León go on to introduce threatened or officially endangered life forms that live in those habitats. These range from algae and the glacier flea (“Each night it freezes, hard as a popsicle, to the surface ice until warmer daytime temperatures free it”) to polar bears and penguins. With side glances at Mount Kilimanjaro and the Swiss Alps, the photos capture Arctic foxes in both winter and summer coats, penguins and puffins at their most photogenic, glaciers rolling grandly down to sea and luminous views of sunlit icebergs and a glacial ice cave. Bulleted facts at the end reinforce the message; leads to eco-activist organizations provide readers motivated by it with means to get involved.

An updated and more melodramatically titled version of a 1994 title, it sounds warnings that have grown all the more immediate.   (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9799759-0-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: London Town Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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