Choruses of delighted “Eeewww”s guaranteed, as well as exposure to such important scientific terms as “mustelid” and...


Fertile fodder for fans of faux fearful freakouts.

The latest in a largely interchangeable series with nearly identical titles (100 Deadliest Things on the Planet, 2012; 100 Most Awesome Things on the Planet, 2011; etc.), this gallery of creepy creatures offers unapologetically sensationalized content. Small portrait photos, five per spread, are matched to names, size ranges, two pithy descriptive notes and “scariness ratings” on a scale of one to five shark teeth. Along with, no surprise, 10 types of shark, the entries include a variety of biting insects and parasitic worms, poison frogs, snakes, carnivorous mammals on land and in the sea, deadly birds (a cassowary “[k]icks hard enough to tear an animal open or rip through a car door”), poisonous jellyfish and killer spiders. No need to fear, writes the author, “most” of these animals will leave you alone if not bothered, and “most” of their bites or stings have medical treatments. Browsers seeking self-inflicted terror or disgust will find in the small but rousing pictures a wide range of open maws and jagged teeth—but (with rare exceptions like the guinea worm being pulled from a sore) nothing seriously gruesome or disturbing.

Choruses of delighted “Eeewww”s guaranteed, as well as exposure to such important scientific terms as “mustelid” and “parasite.” (“Top 100” countdown, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-56342-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)



Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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