Adds nuance to the old saw that we are what we eat…in an all-too-informative way.



Poop has been put to enough worthy uses down the years to fill a book. “This is not that book.”

Instead the author, a pediatric physician, zeroes in on the “poop, pee, vomit, and secretions that people put in their mouths.” Why? “Because that’s way more fun. And way more gross.” Dispelling any lingering reader hesitancy with a not-altogether-superfluous trigger warning, she proceeds to emit a stream of anecdotal observations—on how substances including boar dung, pus, and ox snot were ingested for medicinal purposes (fancied or otherwise) in ancient times and fecal transplants today treat intestinal infections; on the insect origins of the glaze used in the manufacture of candy corn and other sweets; on honey (“sweet insect vomit”) and more-localized delicacies such as haggis and jellied moose nose; what houseflies do when they land on your food; and the many uses of maggots, to name a few. Along the way she also tucks in bad jokes, the odd common-sense advisory, and stomach-churning historical incidents. She also spreads plenty of science around…including a mention of the FDA’s online Food Defect Levels Handbook that will definitely send readers racing for their keyboards. Briggs adds line cartoons (not seen in finished form), from a honey jar with a vomiting bee on the label to an ancient Roman toilet complete with communal butt-wiping xylospongium. Text type and graphics are all printed in appropriately brown tones, including humans of diverse racial presentations.

Adds nuance to the old saw that we are what we eat…in an all-too-informative way. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-24679-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet.

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In this tribute to Native resilience, Indigenous author-and-illustrator team Lindstrom and Goade invite readers to stand up for environmental justice.

“Water is the first medicine,” a young, unnamed protagonist reflects as she wades into a river with her grandmother. “We come from water.” Stunning illustrations, rich in symbolism from the creators’ respective Ojibwe and Tlingit/Haida lineages, bring the dark-haired, brown-skinned child’s narrative to life as she recounts an Anishinaabe prophecy: One day, a “black snake” will terrorize her community and threaten water, animals, and land. “Now the black snake is here,” the narrator proclaims, connecting the legend to the present-day threat of oil pipelines being built on Native lands. Though its image is fearsome, younger audiences aren’t likely to be frightened due to Goade’s vibrant, uplifting focus on collective power. Awash in brilliant colors and atmospheric studies of light, the girl emphasizes the importance of protecting “those who cannot fight for themselves” and understanding that on Earth, “we are all related.” Themes of ancestry, community responsibility, and shared inheritance run throughout. Where the brave protagonist is depicted alongside her community, the illustrations feature people of all ages, skin tones, and clothing styles. Lindstrom’s powerful message includes non-Native and Native readers alike: “We are stewards of the Earth. We are water protectors.”

An inspiring call to action for all who care about our interconnected planet. (author’s note, glossary, illustrator’s note, Water Protector pledge) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20355-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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