For die-hard polar bear fans.

READ REVIEW

GREAT POLAR BEAR

A year in the life of the majestic denizen of the far north.

Originally published in 1996 as The Great Crystal Bear, with illustrations by William Noonan, this edition features all-new artwork from the author. Speaking in poetic second person, the author conveys accurate scientific information, such as the fact that “each hollow hair” of the bear’s fur “gathers sunlight / to heat your black skin and thick layer of fat.” Readers also learn that polar bears’ keen senses of smell attune them not only to nearby neighbors, but also to their favorite food—seals. Only seal skin and blubber are consumed; carcasses are left behind for other Arctic foragers who benefit from polar bears’ hunting skills and cunning. (The seal attacks are described vividly but depicted bloodlessly.) So goes the year. When the ice melts as spring and summer beckon, polar bear groups jockey for dominance and mates, and food becomes scarce. With the arrival of fall and winter again, expanding ice abets hunting. The target audience may tire of the lengthy, ponderous narrative, in which solid information is sometimes obscured. The highlight here is the striking collage artwork, comprised of gouache hand-painted cut papers. The illustrations impart a palpable sense of the bear, its habitat as it changes seasonally, and other wildlife.

For die-hard polar bear fans. (author’s notes, map) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-502-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Seagrass/Quarto

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups.

WOLF PUPS JOIN THE PACK

From the First Discoveries series

A photo album of young wolves running, playing, and growing through their first year.

Light on factual details, the uncredited text largely runs to vague observations along the lines of the fact that “young wolves need to rest every now and then” or that packs “differ in size. Some are large and have many wolves, while others are small with only a few.” The chief draws here are the big, color, stock photos, which show pups of diverse ages and species, singly or in groups—running, posing alertly with parents or other adult wolves, eating (regurgitated food only, and that not visible), howling, patrolling, and snoozing as a seasonal round turns green meadows to snowy landscapes. In a notably perfunctory insertion squeezed onto the final spread, a wildlife biologist from the American Museum of Natural History introduces himself and describes his research work—all with animals other than wolves. Budding naturalists should have no trouble running down more nourishing fare, from Seymour Simon’s Wolves (1993) to Jonathan London’s Seasons of Little Wolf (illustrated by Jon Van Zyle, 2014) and on. Baby Dolphin’s First Swim follows the same formula even down to profiling exactly the same wildlife biologist.

A bland also-ran trailing a large litter of like-themed pups. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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