Overwrought but with plenty of talking points for young eco-activists.

A call to be mindful of our planet’s capacity to absorb environmental damage.

Drawing on reports from the Global Footprint Network, Lemniscates bases her appeal on the notion of “Earth Overshoot Day,” “the date when human demand since the beginning of the year exceeds what the Earth can produce and absorb in an entire year”—July 28 in 2022, though how that date gets calculated goes unexplained. Urgently pointing out that “we are borrowing from our precious planet’s future,” she tallies a litany of changes in policy and behavior that, oracularly, “will move the date.” If all of her suggestions, from stopping the use of plastic bags to replacing fossil fuels in industrial processes with “green hydrogen,” are broad, even worldwide, in scope, they are still valid agenda items and could, with some creative thinking, be locally, even personally, scaled. But an even larger list of actions in the backmatter comes off more like pie in the sky as the rewards take an arbitrarily specific turn: “If all the world’s people would dress warmly for cold weather and coolly for hot weather, we could move the date 3 days.” The illustrations, rendered in watercolor, acrylic, and collage, open with smoke-shrouded industrial landscapes before moving to more uplifting scenes of racially diverse figures, mostly children, engaged in environmentally conscious activities. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Overwrought but with plenty of talking points for young eco-activists. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 28, 2023

ISBN: 9781958394045

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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