No substitute for getting down and dirty in the greenery but a good and visually memorable start.

A gallery that will bring young naturalists close—very close—to common creepy-crawlies.

“Bugs” in this case includes earthworms, snails, and water bears, along with well over three dozen arthropods sharing worldwide distribution, from cat fleas and woodlice to grasshoppers, blowflies, and spiders. Huge, high-resolution stock photos or micro photos of representative specimens are set against black or blurred-out backgrounds to bring colors and finer details of anatomy into spectacular high relief. Around these, smaller photos share space with digestible chunks of introductory comment, distinctive features, definitions of scientific terms, and bulleted facts. Though living up to its titular promise that at least some species of all the chosen invertebrates are likely to be near at hand in any reader’s habitat, this is not a field guide. Nor, aside from an advisory against collecting or even touching live insects, does the author offer guidelines for outdoor expeditions, instructions for hands-on projects, or resources for further study. Along with realizing that movie aliens and monsters have nothing over what nature has on display, though, even casual browsers will absorb some basic information about the wildlife that, would they but look a little closer, wriggles and scampers all around.

No substitute for getting down and dirty in the greenery but a good and visually memorable start. (index, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: July 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77085-697-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Firefly

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016


1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021


What happens to the dogs when dogfighting rings are broken up and the trials are over? Typically, the dogs are put to sleep, thought to be too dangerous to re-enter society. Because of the wide publicity of the Michael Vick case, animal activists were able to work to rescue all but one of his dogs; this is the story of one that survived. The little black pit bull puppy, later named after World War II hero Audie Murphy, thrives in his foster home. Soon he goes to live with a family that wants to train him for agility competitions. Audie needs surgery on his bad knees though, so not only does he still need to learn how to be a safe and social dog, he also has to recover from an operation. Audie goes through Canine Good Citizen classes and does so well he eventually helps train other dogs. He also excels in his agility training once his knees have healed. Color photographs chronicling Audie’s journey are placed on vibrantly colored pages; Muñoz captures the dog’s personality in frame after frame. Patent's text is straightforward, expertly providing just the right level of background and choosing kid-friendly details to illustrate Audie's experiences. Ample backmatter provides further background and resources. Audie’s inspirational story is a case study in rehabilitation, one sure to appeal to animal loving children. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2272-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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