Fascinating for both research and browsing.

RED ALERT!

ENDANGERED ANIMALS AROUND THE WORLD

Barr and Wilson introduce 15 creatures that are included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “Red List,” which designates danger categories from “extinct” to “least concern” for animals, plants, and fungi.

Animals described here are listed in the “vulnerable” to “critically endangered” categories. Using a “choose your own adventure” approach, an opening double-page spread directs readers to “pick a place” (biome), and then the next spread asks them to “choose a creature,” each bearing a page number, from that environment. On the indicated page, readers find an attractive full-bleed painting of the animal (generally out of scale) in its natural setting along with a small human. Each spread includes similar information in a clear layout: the creature’s common name, zoological classification, and Latin name; a short narrative text usually connecting the animal and the human depicted; bulleted facts; and a box entitled “DANGER!” that gives the IUCN category and reasons for the designation. Each section also refers readers to a later spread that lists one website per animal for further information along with suggestions for general conservation efforts—and that instructs readers to return to the beginning and explore another animal. Interested kids will read the whole engaging book. Deeply colored mixed-media illustrations occasionally obscure the text. A world map on the front endpapers showing the habitats of the animals is partially hidden by the jacket flap. The last page lists 60 other animals on the Red List, for further exploration.

Fascinating for both research and browsing. (Nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-839-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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