A prehistoric progress that takes flight in more ways than one.

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DINOSAUR FEATHERS

AN EPIC RHYME

Viewers get ringside seats as dinosaurs march past in an evolutionary parade, giving way to their modern avian representatives.

Nolan crafts a rhymed cadence that is itself an achievement—“Ceratosaurus / Allosaurus / Archaeopteryx / Mamenchisaurus / Kentrosaurus / And Caudipteryx”—but pales next to the brightly patterned, hyper-realistically detailed, and, increasingly often, gloriously feathered dinos marching by the dozens in close company across spacious pages. Just over halfway through, a flaming asteroid descending in the background signals a sudden change to an equally magnificent, more-contemporary cast whose feathers likewise “grew, and grew, and grew. / Flamingos, Owls, / Guineafowls, / And the Marabou.” The portraits are all full-body, rendered (at least roughly) to scale, and with a low or level angle of view that sets them off to fine effect. Dino names throughout are matched to phonetic spellings, and a visual index at the back offers additional quick facts for every marcher. Following the image of a sinuous tree of life being studied by a racially diverse group of human offspring, a final rank of sprightly sauropod hatchlings fondly supervised by a humongous parent finishes off the parade on a homey note.

A prehistoric progress that takes flight in more ways than one. (recommended books and museums) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4330-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity

THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO

When the war comes to Syria, many flee, but Alaa stays in his beloved city, Aleppo, where he continues to work as an ambulance driver and helps the wounded to safety.

Day after day, he misses his family and friends who have left, wondering where they are and how they are doing. His neighborhood empties—except for cats! However, these cats are affected by the conflict too; they’re left behind with shelters destroyed and food and water stringently limited. Alaa, who has a big heart, starts taking care of them using the little money he has. The love between man and cats multiplies, and many people from around the world step up to help. Soon, the cats of Aleppo get a pleasant shelter set in a courtyard. However, Alaa does not stop there and goes on to help other animals and more people, spreading joy, love, and hope. Based on a true story, this picture book is distinctive for its engaging narrative and impeccable illustrations. It is also enriched with notes from Alaa himself (the real one) as well as the authors and illustrator. The often-dramatic images offer a glimpse of the city prior to the conflict and a window on the real people who experience war and try to survive and help others around them.

A beautifully told and illustrated story that offers a unique perspective on both war and humanity . (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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