THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE HONEYBEE

The author of The Life and Times of the Apple (Orchard, 1992) uses the same breezy, colorful format to introduce the honeybee, its history, anatomy, odd facts, and daily life. He describes the bee from egg to adult in brief text and soft-colored pictures. Each spread offers a dozen or more drawings and tidbits, e.g., bee communication through dancing, beekeeping, wax and honey products, bees through history, and around the world. This is a charming browsing title, but the text lacks precision and the author gives no sources. Micucci notes, ``8000 B.C. After the Ice Age, people hunted bees with torches.'' Maybe, but how do we know? He states that the round dance is used when the flowers are ``less than 100 yards away.'' Encyclopedia Americana (1994, Volume 3) says that when the nectar source is closer than about ten yards, the circular dance is used. For nectar from 10 to 100 yards away, the dance becomes sickle-shaped and eventually the figure eight. Honeybees are fascinating and have been extensively researched; most science enthusiasts will want more information than this title provides. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-395-65968-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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