Some children will dig in, but most will leave it unfinished.



The prominent cover image of a bulldog with a pool of puke at its feet will cause kids with a gag reflex to retch, while those into the gross will chortle with glee.

Unfortunately even the latter category will find this, a companion to Get the Scoop on Animal Poop (2012), to be an unsatisfactory stew. The table of contents seems to indicate a careful assemblage of digestible facts including “Toxic Puke Defense,” “Indigestible Puke,” “Baby Pukers” and so on. However, some comments seem incomplete or misleading, starting with one in the introduction: “You may think of puking as a bad thing: it makes your stomach hurt and smells gross. In the animal world, though, vomiting helps animals in many ways.” This seems to suggest that there is a difference between humans and animals and that humans do not benefit from vomiting, yet the reasons we do are covered in a later chapter. “Puke Defense” states that some animals defend themselves and their young with vomit. Cool, but inquisitive readers will not find a definite explanation: Do they spew on predators as a weapon or on themselves to become unsavory? “Cud Pukers” introduces the concept of a four-chamber stomach, yet the role of the second chamber is not covered, nor are chambers labeled on the diagram.

Some children will dig in, but most will leave it unfinished. (glossary, research source notes, further reading, indexes) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62354-045-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Imagine Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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