Repetitive in bulk, but in digestible doses, rewarding fare for younger browsers.




Thirty-three tributes to heroic working animals and doughty mascots, mostly in wartime.

Though the most colorful yarn here stars Voytek, a bear cub adopted by a brigade of expat Polish soldiers who taught him to smoke, drink, and even carry artillery shells, there’s a distinctly British (and doggy) slant to this large-format companion to the human-centered Survivors (2017). Long sticks mostly to the two world wars, with occasional excursions to ground zero on and after 9/11, the (latest) war in Afghanistan, and a few other bidders. He relates, in no obvious order, exploits of Murphy the donkey, the “four-legged ambulance” of Gallipoli; “Sgt.” Reckless, a packhorse awarded two Purple Hearts in Korea; several rescue dogs in the trenches and the Blitz; homing pigeons who carried timely or lifesaving messages for incredible distances; even a cat who helped the crew of a damaged ship survive a monthslong siege. The author goes for sentiment over gritty detail (Blitz rescue dog Rip’s “little heart eventually gave up”), and if not all of the animals survived their heroics, the narratives at least end on upbeat notes. Hyndman adds painted portraits at the chapter heads and occasional double-page scenes of climactic moments; human figures likely default to white, though they are uncommon and their faces are turned away or left in shadow. There is a table of contents but no index or source list.

Repetitive in bulk, but in digestible doses, rewarding fare for younger browsers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-571-34210-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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It’s broader that it is deep, but it offers both a global view and art to pore over.



A dive into the ocean’s wonders, from edge to abyss.

De Amicis’ painted illustrations give this wide-angled survey a strong visual draw, as sea life floats on every page in grand displays of exotic shapes, gracefully angled fins and spikes, tendrils and tentacles, intricate patterns of dots and stripes. We really have just one ocean on this planet, Weiss points out, and we know less about it than we know about the moon or Mars—so she begins by pairing mermaids with manatees, the legendary kraken with the real giant squid, before going on to profile characteristic residents of each oceanic zone from sunlit surface to the dark and eerie world at the bottom of the deepest trenches. She then surveys local habitats from polar seas to salt marshes, glides past diverse topics from symbiosis and other relationships to sea creatures that change sexes, and, after glances at climate change, “plastic soup,” and other threats, closes with a set of basic principles of environmental care. Each marine creature on view is identified and accurately depicted, with occasional small silhouettes of humans or other animals to provide a sense of relative scale.

It’s broader that it is deep, but it offers both a global view and art to pore over. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9999680-7-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Excellent information presented in a frustrating and distracting jumble.



Dogs have played a role in human history for eons.

MacLeod provides coverage on eight doggy themes arranged chronologically: Seaman, the Newfoundland that accompanied Lewis and Clark; Pekinese dogs’ connection with Chinese royalty; dogs that served in World War I; Togo and Balto and their lifesaving trek across the Alaskan tundra with diphtheria antitoxin; the first American guide dog, Buddy; dogs that served in World War II; bomb-sniffing dogs, including Brandy, who found explosives on a jet in 1972; and search-and-rescue dogs, especially those that served on 9/11. A plethora of excellent photographs accompanies the engaging text. Unfortunately, a profusion of text boxes, sidebars, and other interruptions breaks up the stories. Page-sized featurettes on a yellow background headed “Dog Data” primarily focus on the history of dogs and their natural characteristics. Small pullouts entitled “Woof!” contain brief, miscellaneous tidbits that usually, but not always, relate to the topic at hand. The chapter on World War II dogs also includes: a section on modern war dogs; a Woof! on a border collie that scares birds away from a Michigan airport; boxes on both mythological Cerberus and a dog that defended a Persian city in 456 B.C.E.; and a World War I photo.

Excellent information presented in a frustrating and distracting jumble. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-907-1

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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