Readers are likely to view their world more carefully after learning of the important role decomposition plays in the cycle...

ROTTEN!

VULTURES, BEETLES, SLIME, AND NATURE’S OTHER DECOMPOSERS

Thankfully, most stuff rots.

This colorfully illustrated effort is aimed at a grade school audience that’s sure to be appreciative of an oft-stinky subject. Sanchez breaks the broad topic of decay down into a multitude of subtopics, covering dung beetles, animal scavengers, fungi, the decomposition of a log, earthworms, decomposition in the home, a comparison of natural rot vs. what doesn’t happen in a landfill, and finally, human decomposition—including mummies and preserving bodies in honey or alcohol. The information is doled out in small doses, usually just a paragraph at a time, and always on brightly colored pages (a couple of which are a bit challenging to read because of insufficient contrast between text and page color). Plenty of amusing, cartoony illustrations accompany the text and enhance its accessibility. Basic instructions are included for creating a compost pile, growing red worms, and making whole wheat bread. Although the illustrations and bright pages give the book a frivolous look, the information is generally accurate and in sufficient depth for the audience. The bibliography consists almost entirely of adult reading materials, however, and there are no suggestions for further reading for young inquiring minds.

Readers are likely to view their world more carefully after learning of the important role decomposition plays in the cycle of life. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-84165-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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 stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts.

YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

From a Caldecott and Sibert honoree, an invitation to take a mind-expanding journey from the surface of our planet to the furthest reaches of the observable cosmos.

Though Chin’s assumption that we are even capable of understanding the scope of the universe is quixotic at best, he does effectively lead viewers on a journey that captures a sense of its scale. Following the model of Kees Boeke’s classic Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps (1957), he starts with four 8-year-old sky watchers of average height (and different racial presentations). They peer into a telescope and then are comically startled by the sudden arrival of an ostrich that is twice as tall…and then a giraffe that is over twice as tall as that…and going onward and upward, with ellipses at each page turn connecting the stages, past our atmosphere and solar system to the cosmic web of galactic superclusters. As he goes, precisely drawn earthly figures and features in the expansive illustrations give way to ever smaller celestial bodies and finally to glimmering swirls of distant lights against gulfs of deep black before ultimately returning to his starting place. A closing recap adds smaller images and additional details. Accompanying the spare narrative, valuable side notes supply specific lengths or distances and define their units of measure, accurately explain astronomical phenomena, and close with the provocative observation that “the observable universe is centered on us, but we are not in the center of the entire universe.”

A stimulating outing to the furthest reaches of our knowledge, certain to inspire deep thoughts. (afterword, websites, further reading) (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4623-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more