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MAGNIFICENT BIRDS

Lovely but out of sync

Fourteen bird species chosen for their dramatic or unusual characteristics are illustrated and described in this album.

Each spread presents a full-bleed linocut print of the bird in question in its habitat, with a paragraph or two of detailed text describing such features as flight pattern, typical courtship behavior, plumage, migration, and feeding habits. The text includes fascinating facts about the birds, such as how the flamingo’s plumage varies with its diet, the way the bird of paradise shows off its plumage to its mate, the unusual vision of the common kingfisher, and how the toucan uses its enormous beak. Birds that travel vast distances are described, including the wandering albatross, which can cover more than 10,000 miles in a single journey, and the bar-tailed godwit, which flies more than 6,000 miles during migration. One of the most interesting birds is the rare kakapo from New Zealand, which uses its thoracic sac to make a booming sound to attract females. Togo’s linocut illustrations are beautifully composed, judiciously colored, and observant renderings of the birds and their habitats and help to give life to the factual text (produced in collaboration with the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). However, they seem mismatched to the fine-print, detailed text, looking too junior for the reading level.

Lovely but out of sync . (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0169-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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ISAAC NEWTON

From the Giants of Science series

Hot on the heels of the well-received Leonardo da Vinci (2005) comes another agreeably chatty entry in the Giants of Science series. Here the pioneering physicist is revealed as undeniably brilliant, but also cantankerous, mean-spirited, paranoid and possibly depressive. Newton’s youth and annus mirabilis receive respectful treatment, the solitude enforced by family estrangement and then the plague seen as critical to the development of his thoughtful, methodical approach. His subsequent squabbles with the rest of the scientific community—he refrained from publishing one treatise until his rival was dead—further support the image of Newton as a scientific lone wolf. Krull’s colloquial treatment sketches Newton’s advances in clearly understandable terms without bogging the text down with detailed explanations. A final chapter on “His Impact” places him squarely in the pantheon of great thinkers, arguing that both his insistence on the scientific method and his theories of physics have informed all subsequent scientific thought. A bibliography, web site and index round out the volume; the lack of detail on the use of sources is regrettable in an otherwise solid offering for middle-grade students. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-670-05921-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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WICKED BUGS

THE MEANEST, DEADLIEST, GROSSEST BUGS ON EARTH

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative.

This junior edition of Stewart’s lurid 2011 portrait gallery of the same name (though much less gleeful subtitle) loses none of its capacity for leaving readers squicked-out.

The author drops a few entries, notably the one on insect sexual practices, and rearranges toned-down versions of the rest into roughly topical sections. Beginning with the same cogent observation—“We are seriously outnumbered”—she follows general practice in thrillers of this ilk by defining “bug” broadly enough to include all-too-detailed descriptions of the life cycles and revolting or deadly effects of scorpions and spiders, ticks, lice, and, in a chapter evocatively titled “The Enemy Within,” such internal guests as guinea worms and tapeworms. Mosquitoes, bedbugs, the ubiquitous “Filth Fly,” and like usual suspects mingle with more-exotic threats, from the tongue-eating louse and a “yak-killer hornet” (just imagine) to the aggressive screw-worm fly that, in one cited case, flew up a man’s nose and laid hundreds of eggs…that…hatched. Morrow-Cribbs’ close-up full-color drawings don’t offer the visceral thrills of the photos in, for instance, Rebecca L. Johnson’s Zombie Makers (2012) but are accurate and finely detailed enough to please even the fussiest young entomologists.

Entomophobes will find all of this horrifyingly informative. (index, glossary, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61620-755-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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