EXPLORERS: REPTILES

From the Explorers series

Two new entries expand the subject diversity of the Explorers series, marked by their short paragraphs of information, extensive index, labeled pictures and panoramic scenes. Carole Stott’s concurrently published Stars and Planets is a very generalized introduction to space, focusing on the stars, moon, planets, space travel, astronauts and robotic space technologies. This title, the stronger and more in-depth of the two, focuses on four groups of reptiles: snakes, crocodilians, lizards and turtles and tortoises. Using a wide variety of examples across the four groups, Lewellyn teaches children about reptiles’ diets, habitats, predators, defenses, adaptations, births and interactions with humans. Unfortunately, the flaws of previous titles continue in these, to varying degrees. “What is it?” thumbnails still ask readers to identify objects from their close-up views; in most cases these objects can be found in the larger artwork, although they are not named. Color-coded icons are meant to link similar topics within each book, but the connections between pages may not be immediately obvious to readers. These connections are only spelled out in detail in a section of backmatter entitled “More to explore,” where children can also learn a few more facts about each topic. Illustrations vary between stunning photographs and rather stilted-looking digital images. An OK beginning for children just discovering their individual interests. (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7534-6499-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp.

HUMANIMAL

INCREDIBLE WAYS ANIMALS ARE JUST LIKE US!

Eye-opening discoveries for readers who think only humans grieve, play, or admire themselves in mirrors.

Claiming the titular word (wrongly) as his own coinage, Lloyd develops the theme that many animals display behavior or characteristics once thought exclusively human, from living in cities (termites) to feeling emotions like love and grief (elephants, bonobos). The author extends commonly seen examples: Yes, as Jane Goodall has proven, chimps do use tools, but so do Australian black kites, which have been seen carrying burning sticks from fires to nearby grasslands to stir up prey. He also points to observations of bees communally deciding on where to establish a new hive; ravens repeatedly rolling down hills for, evidently, fun; and even slime molds showing a knack for constructing networks between food sources that rival for efficiency anything that civil engineers can concoct. In many reports he names animal researchers (though all but two of the 15 in his closing biographical gallery are white and European or American) and describes specific incidents or experiments. Ruffle adds big, boldly hued views of stylized but expressively posed, easily recognizable creatures against monochromatic or simplified natural backgrounds. The rare human figures are nearly all actual portraits.

Convincing evidence that the boundaries between us and them aren’t all that sharp. (index, selected scientific publications) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-912920-01-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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