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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

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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