A lively once-over that gets further beneath the skin of its subject than first glances might suggest.

CELLS

AN OWNER'S HANDBOOK

A stylish introduction to the structures and functions of cells, starting on “the derrière of a Boston terrier.”

Congratulating readers on being the owners of “37 trillion high-performance cells,” canine skin cell Ellie defines them as the difference between living and nonliving things. She then goes on to explain that each “itty-bitty building block” from red blood cell to sperm and egg has one or more jobs, how mitochondria and other organelles contribute to the effort, and (with help from a “cellfie”) how cells make more cells. Fisher incorporates text large and small in hand-lettered styles into swirling, exuberant painted images that more often suggest rather than clinically depict various sorts of cells and creatures made up of them; they definitely capture the breezy vein of the cellular tour, however. Ellie doesn’t get to a few things—meiosis, for instance, or viruses—but she covers considerable territory…and once she’s done (“I gotta split!”), the author finishes off with jokes, a source note for the “37 trillion” claim, and leads to more-detailed surveys of the topic.

A lively once-over that gets further beneath the skin of its subject than first glances might suggest. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5185-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A lofty mix of nature facts and rumination.

TREE HOLE HOMES

DAYTIME DENS AND NIGHTTIME NOOKS

Thinking outside the nest, here’s a gallery of arboreal residents, from tree frogs to birds and bobcats.

Stewart invites readers to join her in visualizing some of the animal residents known to use hollowed-out spaces in tree trunks and imagining what such a home would be like. A solitary fisher, for instance, would find calm and quiet in such a hole. Not so a mother raccoon with a passel of cubs. A well-placed hole makes a good nesting site for wood ducks and eastern bluebirds, a daytime refuge for a nocturnal Liberian tree hole crab, a “nighttime nook” for a black spiny-tailed iguana, or even a cozy place for an American black bear to bed down for the winter. Working with acrylic and marker on wood to create suitably suggestive surfaces and backgrounds, Hevron creates intimate close-ups of stylized but easily recognizable creatures peering out or in cross-sectional views nestling down. She also depicts a light-skinned young explorer slipping into a big trunk’s ground level cavity to read and think about how such found places provide temporary escape from the outside world’s distractions. The author adds notes about each animal’s preferred habitat, diet, and other details both in the narrative and at the end. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lofty mix of nature facts and rumination. (selected sources, further reading) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37330-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Confusing topical drift muddles this quick but creditable dip into Newtonian physics.

MATTER

PHYSICAL SCIENCE FOR KIDS

A first introduction to what matter is—and isn’t.

Setting off on a potentially confusing tangent at the outset, Diehn opens with a discourse on how we use the word “matter” in common speech—as in “What’s the matter?” or “That doesn’t matter.” Following a perfunctory segue she then launches into her actual subject with a simple but not simplistic definition (“Matter is anything that takes up space and can be weighed”). She continues with easy-to-follow explanations of how matter (even air) can be weighed, how it comes in the states of solid, liquid, gas, and plasma, and finally how light is not matter but something else. Companion volumes on Energy, Forces, and Waves offer overviews that are likewise lucid, albeit similarly muddied by strained and, in the end, irrelevant word usages. All four surveys include questions and simple activities for readers. Shululu illustrates all four with a cast of wide-eyed, cherry-nosed figures of varying skin colors and their floppy-eared dog in active poses and, usually, outdoor settings.

Confusing topical drift muddles this quick but creditable dip into Newtonian physics. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61930-642-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nomad Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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