Every one of Wenzel’s beasties, from the “common” house cat to the mouth-dropping whale shark, exhibits an exuberant spark...

HELLO HELLO

Caldecott honoree (They All Saw a Cat, 2016) Wenzel’s graphic love letter to all us earthlings is a hallelujah chorus to life in all its glorious shapes and forms.

Each page is a visual testament to the Sesame Street axiom “different yet the same.” The white cat leads off to the black, which then takes readers to the black bear, the black-and-white panda, the stripey zebra, and its finny eponymous cousin, the zebra fish. This natural progression opens readers’ minds to the fact that we have more in common with one another than not—but for one alarming distinction. Between 200 and 2,000 species are going extinct each year. Wenzel immortalizes his favorite examples of our planet’s exceptional inhabitants, including us, using a variety of artistic media and tools (cut paper, colored pencil, oils, pastels, markers, etc.) to amazing effect. Dynamic images cavorting, reclining, flying, or dancing across and around stark white pages snag both emotions and imaginations. The spare, rhyming text united by the bridging greeting of “Hello” places all creatures on the same interconnected playing field. In the backmatter, the author identifies all his stars on two double-page spreads in order of appearance and notes their status when applicable: vulnerable to critically endangered.

Every one of Wenzel’s beasties, from the “common” house cat to the mouth-dropping whale shark, exhibits an exuberant spark of life that will delight readers everywhere—and hopefully encourage in them an awareness of their plights. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5014-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF ANIMALS

An outsized overview of animal types, senses, and common characteristics liberally endowed with flaps, pull-tabs, and like furbelows.

Della Malva’s realistically drawn animals crowd sturdy leaves large enough to feature life-size (or nearly so) images of the folded wings of a sea gull and a macaw, and Baumann fills the gaps between with meaty descriptive comments. On every page elements that lift, unfold, pop up, or spin aren’t just slapped on, but actively contribute to the presentation. On a “Birth and Growing” spread, for instance, each of six eggs from ostrich to platypus is a flap with an embryo beneath; a spinner presents a slideshow of a swallowtail’s life cycle from egg to adult; and no fewer than three attached booklets expand on the general topic using other species. Subsequent spreads cover animal sight, hearing, body coverings, grasping and touch, locomotion, and—centering on a startling gander down the pop-up maw of a wolf—eating. The animals and relevant body parts are all clearly labeled, and the text is pitched to serve equally well both casual browsers (“Even fish pee!”) and young zoologists seriously interested in the difference between “scales” and “scutes” or curious about the range of insect-mouth shapes.

Big and likely to draw a large audience both for its subject and the plethora of interactive doodads. (Informational novelty. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-281-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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