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A richly visual and interactive resource for learning about one of the world’s greatest architectural and cultural wonders.

Time-travel along the Great Wall of China in this Chinese import translated by Wu.

At 13,170 miles long and with more than 2,700 years of history, the Great Wall of China is a series of walls and fortifications spanning deserts and mountains. Starting in the city of Nanyang in 656 B.C.E. and ending at the Yanmen Pass in 2022 C.E., the book introduces readers to the awe-inspiring structure’s history, from the influential figures who helped build it to the wall’s evolving uses to notable historical events. Just over a dozen such events are highlighted, with a double-page panoramic scene of a different area of the Great Wall accompanying each short prose overview. Du’s highly detailed realistic illustrations in an earthy palette teem with visual information to pore over. The consistently used bird’s-eye perspective helps establish the immense scale of the Great Wall. Readers see snow-covered mountains, desert sands, green landscapes, and scores of soldiers, laborers, and travelers. As with its predecessor, China Through Time (2020), callouts bordering the pages offer interesting facts and seek-and-find prompts. Hidden in each two-page spread is Hong Yu, a red fox whose activities are used to quiz readers. A short timeline at the closing provides some dynastic context. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A richly visual and interactive resource for learning about one of the world’s greatest architectural and cultural wonders. (glossary) (Nonfiction picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7440-4848-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

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 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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From the Everything Awesome About… series

A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

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 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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