Readers who have never thought of it before will agree: “Take care of your skull, because you only get one.” (Informational...

READ REVIEW

SKULLS!

A celebration of that thing everyone has to hold eyes, nose, and teeth in place.

Thornburgh urges readers to appreciate their skulls, which are not only “safe and snug, like a car seat for your brain,” but come with convenient holes for seeing, hearing, and chowing down on grilled-cheese sandwiches. Even without noses (which are “more of a cartilage thing”), skulls also give faces a good shape and, despite what some people think, really aren’t trying to be scary. Campbell’s cartoon illustrations feature racially diverse humans, animals, or crowds whose heads switch back and forth between smiling flesh and X-ray views with the turn of a page. Assurances notwithstanding, they tend to undermine that last claim—at least at first. Still, any initial startlement should soon give way to a willingness to echo the author’s “I love my skull!” A page of “Cool Skull Facts!” opposite a final, fairly anatomically correct image gives this good odds of becoming a STEM and storytime favorite. 

Readers who have never thought of it before will agree: “Take care of your skull, because you only get one.” (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1400-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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