Unfocused but nevertheless gifted with bold visuals and a beguiling sense of appreciation for nature’s beauties.

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MOUNTAINS OF THE WORLD

Imported from Germany, an album of mountains, with tributes to those who scale them, portraits of flora and fauna that live on them, and related topics.

As Braun covers his subject in no very systematic way and often wanders some distance off course, it’s his faceted, vividly hued landscapes and figures that will (as in Wild Animals of the North and Wild Animals of the South, 2016 and 2017) be the main draw. In between soaring portraits of 20 tall or otherwise renowned peaks and rocky formations, he intersperses wildlife portraits—the snow leopard being particularly magnificent—along with equipment layouts for climbers and for skiers. He also ventures down into caves and across the Gobi Desert, pausing to admire several scenic wonders from Antarctic icebergs to mountain sculptures including Petra, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. To give a sense of scale he places the Eiffel Tower and Great Pyramid next to Uluru in one scene and, just for fun, in another slips in a pair of hulking yeti. The accompanying notes are likewise scattershot, offering nuggets of information that can feel arbitrary. Aside from stately Maasai and Aboriginal men in ceremonial dress and quick nods to renowned mountaineers Edmund Hilary, Tenzing Norgay, and Reinhold Messner, human figures are too stylized to detect their ethnicities.

Unfocused but nevertheless gifted with bold visuals and a beguiling sense of appreciation for nature’s beauties. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-912497-94-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders.

THE BIG BOOK OF THE BLUE

Denizens of the deep crowd oversized pages in this populous gallery of ocean life.

The finny and tentacled sea creatures drifting or arrowing through Zommer’s teeming watercolor seascapes are generally recognizable, and they are livened rather than distorted by the artist’s tendency to place human eyes on the same side of many faces, Picasso-like. Headers such as “Ink-teresting” or “In for the krill” likewise add a playful tone to the pithy comments on anatomical features or behavioral quirks that accompany the figures (which include, though rarely, a white human diver). The topical spreads begin with an overview of ocean families (“Some are hairy, some have scales, some have fins and some are boneless and brainless!”), go on to introduce select animals in no particular order from sea horses and dragonets to penguins and pufferfish, then close with cautionary remarks on chemical pollution and floating plastic. The author invites readers as they go to find both answers to such questions as “Why does a crab run sideways?” and also a small sardine hidden in some, but not all, of the pictures. For the latter he provides a visual key at the end, followed by a basic glossary.

A refreshing dive past some of our world’s marine wonders. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65119-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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