An attractive addition to natural-science shelves.

READ REVIEW

ANIMAL ANTIPODES

GLOBAL OPPOSITES

After a clear pronunciation guide on the title page, readers learn examples of antipodes on Earth—and a few respective animal inhabitants—and why they never share daylight hours.

Offering a clear definition of “antipodes,” the introductory double-page spread features a huge, stylized rendition of Earth in outer space, setting up the idea that there are “amazing animals” living in places that are exactly opposite each other on the globe. “Each creature has evolved and adapted to live in their own special place in the world.” The double-page spread that follows starts a pattern that holds for the next 10 page turns: There’s a small amount of information in graceful language (“The North Pole. Under the northern lights, polar bears roam by icy waves”); vivid, colorful, collagelike art across the top halves of the pages; and the unique fun of turning each spread upside down to access the art and text describing the right-side-up’s antipode. There is a small globe at dead center of each spread on which the relevant antipodes are indicated, but its location and hard-to-decipher land shapes detract from usefulness. The final pages clearly explain the planet’s rotation, revolution, and tilt—again accompanied by striking artwork. The endpapers offer additional delight, with labeled, colored-pencil renditions of animals that readers may (or may not) have noticed during their first read.

An attractive addition to natural-science shelves. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-939547-49-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Science at its best: informative and gross.

DO NOT LICK THIS BOOK

Why not? Because “IT’S FULL OF GERMS.”

Of course, Ben-Barak rightly notes, so is everything else—from your socks to the top of Mount Everest. Just to demonstrate, he invites readers to undertake an exploratory adventure (only partly imaginary): First touch a certain seemingly blank spot on the page to pick up a microbe named Min, then in turn touch teeth, shirt, and navel to pick up Rae, Dennis, and Jake. In the process, readers watch crews of other microbes digging cavities (“Hey kid, brush your teeth less”), spreading “lovely filth,” and chowing down on huge rafts of dead skin. For the illustrations, Frost places dialogue balloons and small googly-eyed cartoon blobs of diverse shape and color onto Rundgren’s photographs, taken using a scanning electron microscope, of the fantastically rugged surfaces of seemingly smooth paper, a tooth, textile fibers, and the jumbled crevasses in a belly button. The tour concludes with more formal introductions and profiles for Min and the others: E. coli, Streptococcus, Aspergillus niger, and Corynebacteria. “Where will you take Min tomorrow?” the author asks teasingly. Maybe the nearest bar of soap.

Science at its best: informative and gross. (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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