An entry-level ecology book that succeeds in imparting child-accessible information.


From the 10 Reasons to Love a... series

Young readers meet the eight bear species.

With its heavy paper, thick front and back boards, and a front cover featuring a cutout in the shape of a bear, this book is designed to attract (and stand up to) young readers. The text first lists a child-understandable bear trait (“They love to snack”) and then expands on it to explain, for example, that bears eat all kinds of food. Clulow’s double-page–spread, full-color, diorama-like digital artwork illustrates each trait by showing a particular species of bear in its habitat with accurate flora and fauna. In the case of snacking, a group of sun bears is shown fishing, gobbling berries, and raiding beehives. The bears, as well as some flora, fauna, and habitat elements, are identified with labels near them, adding to the information, although some seem obvious (“clouds,” “hillside,” “rain”). Unfortunately, all the animals are given enlarged, white-rimmed eyes—an unnecessary cartoony look that jars in an otherwise thoughtful presentation. Red medallions headed “Show you love a bear” offer information (in a tiny font) about not feeding bears, climate change’s impacts, and encouragement to do further research, among others. Published simultaneously with the same author and illustrator, and following the same format, is 10 Reasons to Love a Whale, which concentrates solely—and successfully—on the blue whale (although it has the same cutesy-eye problem).

An entry-level ecology book that succeeds in imparting child-accessible information. (Informational picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-016-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Captivating—and not a bit terrifying.


From the Block Books series

Catering to young scientists, naturalists, and Shark Week fans–to-be, this visually arresting volume presents a good deal of information in easily digested bites.

Like others in the Block Books series, this book feels both compact and massive. When closed, it is 5.5 inches across, 6.5 inches tall, and nearly 2 inches thick, weighty and solid, with stiff cardboard pages that boast creative die cuts and numerous fold-out three- and four-panel tableaux. While it’s possible it’s not the only book with a dorsal fin, it certainly must be among the best. The multiracial cast of aquarium visitors includes a Sikh man with his kids and a man of color who uses a wheelchair; there they discover the dramatic degree of variations among sharks. The book begins with a trip to a shark exhibit, complete with a megalodon jaw. The text points out that there are over 400 known types of sharks alive today, then introduces 18 examples, including huge whale sharks, tiny pocket sharks, and stealthy, well-camouflaged wobbegongs. Reef sharks prowl the warm waters of the surface, while sand tiger sharks explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor. Bioluminescent catsharks reside at the bottom of an inky black flap that folds down, signifying the deepest ocean depths, where no sunlight penetrates. Great whites get star treatment with four consecutive two-page spreads; their teeth and appetite impress but don’t horrify. The book does a wonderful job of highlighting the interconnectedness of species and the importance of environmental stewardship.

Captivating—and not a bit terrifying. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4119-7

Page Count: 84

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.


The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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