ON THE WING

AMERICAN BIRDS IN MIGRATION

“About five billion land birds from five hundred species leave their North American nesting area to spend the winter farther south,” according to Lerner (My Indoor Garden, 1999, etc.), but that’s only part of the story told in this remarkable look at bird migration. The author here describes bird flight patterns North-South, East-West, and up and down from higher to lower altitudes with the changing seasons. She explains why some birds migrate all the time but others only some times, and why still others just stay home. Nearly every page has a helpful thumbnail map and a handsome painting of birds. Most intriguing are scientific studies about how birds prepare for migration, and how they find their way. For example, the tiny hummingbird adds 40 percent to his weight before migration, and can travel 500 miles nonstop. Lerner reports scientists have found “magnetite,” or lodestone, in the heads of homing pigeons, suggesting they have a built-in magnetic compass. Other studies show caged birds with a pattern of the northern sky on the ceiling attempt to fly in their migratory path. If some stars are removed, the bird still flies in the correct direction, but if all stars are removed, the bird is confused and flutters in all directions. The author concludes with suggestions on birdwatching, groups, and guidebooks. This is super science, beautifully presented. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-16649-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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KENNY & THE DRAGON

Reports of children requesting rewrites of The Reluctant Dragon are rare at best, but this new version may be pleasing to young or adult readers less attuned to the pleasures of literary period pieces. Along with modernizing the language—“Hmf! This Beowulf fellow had a severe anger management problem”—DiTerlizzi dials down the original’s violence. The red-blooded Boy is transformed into a pacifistic bunny named Kenny, St. George is just George the badger, a retired knight who owns a bookstore, and there is no actual spearing (or, for that matter, references to the annoyed knight’s “Oriental language”) in the climactic show-fight with the friendly, crème-brulée-loving dragon Grahame. In look and spirit, the author’s finely detailed drawings of animals in human dress are more in the style of Lynn Munsinger than, for instance, Ernest Shepard or Michael Hague. They do, however, nicely reflect the bright, informal tone of the text. A readable, if denatured, rendition of a faded classic. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-3977-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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