Only for readers old enough to handle the idea of environmental catastrophe.

What will happen to jellies, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, corals, and blue-green algae in the “New Ocean” of the future?

Opening with the premise that global warming, pollution, acidification, and overfishing are dramatically and permanently changing the ocean—perhaps back to a primal sea—the author then considers the fates of six species, each one discussed in two double-page spreads that pair a substantial column of text on verso to a painting on recto that crosses the gutter. On the first spread, readers find a short description and bulleted facts and then, on the next spread, a column of dire prediction: jellies will flourish, devouring baby fish; orcas are already dying young in poisoned waters and in captivity; turtles are killed by oil-well accidents, litter, and fishing nets; tuna have been overfished and are full of poisonous mercury; coral bleaches and dies in too-warm, acidic, polluted waters; and blue-green algae will also flourish, especially a poisonous one called fireweed. The New Ocean will be oxygen-poor and could cause another mass extinction. These bleak forecasts are accompanied by Barnard’s beautiful oil paintings of sea creatures. His information is not inaccurate; his explanations are clear; the future he envisages is one of many possibilities. On a final spread he offers some suggestions for drastic public measures, personal actions, and an example of a teen invention, not enough to offset the gloomy aftertaste this warning is likely to leave in readers.

Only for readers old enough to handle the idea of environmental catastrophe. (sources, glossary) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-375-87049-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017


The tables are turned and the big bad wolf from traditional fairy tales is cast as a mild-mannered, aspiring cook in this hilarious topsy-turvy tale from Fearnley. Determined to assuage his yearning for pancakes, the gastronomically-challenged Mr. Wolf sets out to make a stack himself. However, the would-be chef discovers a staggering amount of hurdles that must be overcome before he can enjoy his repast: reading the recipe, making a list, purchasing the ingredients. Like the little red hen, Mr. Wolf requests help from his neighbors along the way, and these characters—Chicken Little, Wee Willy Winkle, Gingerbread Man, and others—have shed their more benign personalities to reveal themselves as a rude, scurrilous bunch. Mr. Wolf retains his poise with each rebuff and ends up doing the work alone; when the pushy neighbors barge into his kitchen to share the food, Mr. Wolf enjoys—in true fairy-tale fashion—far more than pancakes for his meal. Fearnley’s light tone keeps the abrupt demise of the ill-mannered bunch from being morbid, and the switch in Mr. Wolf’s demeanor, from polite to hungry, is more funny than frightful. The brightly hued illustrations conjure up an imaginary land that tickles the funnybone, where “Little Jack’s Plum Pies” can be purchased from “Simple Simon’s Pie & Cake Emporium.” Wryly funny and childlike. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-888444-76-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000


A riveting adventure about an encounter with one of nature’s most formidable manifestations. Beard (The Flimflam Man, 1998, etc.) presents a suspenseful account of Lucille and her brother Natt’s experience during an afternoon tornado; readers will keep turning the pages until the climactic conclusion. Natt and Lucille are left alone in shelter of the cellar during the storm as their mother goes to assist an elderly neighbor. With quiet courage the two face the storm, relying upon each other for moral and physical support. Beard’s lyrical descriptions of Natt and Lucille’s experiences lend a you-are-there immediacy to the tale, while Carpenter’s generously colored artwork vibrates with the intensity of nature unleashed. Turquoise skies quickly turn to dark indigo as the storm approaches. Deep, foreboding grays predominate as Natt and Lucille wait out the storm; with the return of lighter skies and colors, the children emerge from their shelter. A rousing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-37977-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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