Proof that courage and loyalty are superpowers too…even for species that can’t emit ultrasonic blasts.

BURT THE BEETLE DOESN'T BITE!

From the Burt the Beetle series

“I’m more of a hugger,” says the eponymous six-legged guide through the world of insect powers and superpowers.

Ants can carry 50 times their weight; hawk moths emit ultrasonic blasts to confuse predatory bats; nasute termites spray paralyzing venom; and stink bugs—well, “Super gross. But also super cool.” But June beetles…can’t do those things. Nor, as Burt the 10-lined June beetle unwillingly proves, can they run fast, fly very well, or even tap dance. They do have sticky legs, for what it’s worth—which is, it turns out, quite a lot when the only way to rescue friends from a spider’s web of “sticky bum strings” is to hug the spider and hold on. “What…is…happening?” gasps the arrested arachnid, all eight legs dangling limply as a beatific Burt clasps it tight—then: “Oh, crumbs.” Following a final group clinch, a closing gallery adds even more insect facts and friends. In the wake of Fairy Science (2019), Spires here flits to a different area of STEM for another playful but informative gander at the natural world that likewise artfully stirs a light load of fact into a mix of cartoon-style illustrations and banter. Along with effortlessly absorbing the former while enjoying the latter, readers may well find it easy to embrace the wonders that the insect world presents to anyone willing to take a closer look. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Proof that courage and loyalty are superpowers too…even for species that can’t emit ultrasonic blasts. (Graphic nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0146-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination.

TOO MANY CARROTS

When Rabbit’s unbridled mania for collecting carrots leaves him unable to sleep in his cozy burrow, other animals offer to put him up.

But to Rabbit, their homes are just more storage space for carrots: Tortoise’s overstuffed shell cracks open; the branch breaks beneath Bird’s nest; Squirrel’s tree trunk topples over; and Beaver’s bulging lodge collapses at the first rainstorm. Impelled by guilt and the epiphany that “carrots weren’t for collecting—they were for SHARING!” Rabbit invites his newly homeless friends into his intact, and inexplicably now-roomy, burrow for a crunchy banquet. This could be read (with some effort) as a lightly humorous fable with a happy ending, and Hudson’s depictions of carrot-strewn natural scenes, of Rabbit as a plush bunny, and of the other animals as, at worst, mildly out of sorts support that take. Still, the insistent way Rabbit keeps forcing himself on his friends and the magnitude of the successive disasters may leave even less-reflective readers disturbed. Moreover, as Rabbit is never seen actually eating a carrot, his stockpiling looks a lot like the sort of compulsive hoarding that, in humans, is regarded as a mental illness.

Superficially appealing; much less so upon closer examination. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-638-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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