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From the Save the... series

Eloquent and informative.

An invitation to learn more about the largest living fish and to help in efforts to keep them from becoming extinct.

“They’re the biggest fish in the world, but they eat the smallest things in the sea.” In an appeal aimed largely at fledgling chapter-book readers, Sanchez begins with distinctive basic facts about whale sharks’ feeding habits (though “the size of a school bus,” they eat only plankton and “teeny minnows and sardines”), their need to travel far in search of food, and their ovoviviparous reproduction. She then explains how, between becoming disposable “bycatch” in commercial fishing and being harvested for their own meat, oil, and fins (for soup), their populations have dropped 50% over the past 75 years to the point that they have been designated as endangered. Another major threat, Sanchez notes, is floating plastic…and perhaps the most affecting passage here is her account of the 2019 discovery of a young whale shark that starved to death after a plastic bag clogged its digestive tract. Following this buildup, the author offers 11 helpful activities and measures for eco-activists, including, in a sign that this is not addressed just to younger audiences, a strong suggestion to register and vote for candidates who support environmental protections. In the book’s introduction, Clinton stresses that even small actions can make a real difference when it comes to helping the environment. The speckled giants, mouths agape, pose in a sparse assortment of murky black-and-white photos.

Eloquent and informative. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-40426-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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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

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From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

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 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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